Highland Toffee firm goes into administration

Highland Toffee
Image caption New McCowans sells 140 million Highland Toffee bars a year

The makers of one of Scotland's oldest and best-loved sweets have gone into administration, putting 103 jobs at risk.

New McCowans Ltd, which produces the Highland Toffee bar, has been losing money despite selling more than 140 million bars a year.

Administrators Grant Thornton took over the running of the company on Friday.

The sweet maker has had a factory in Stenhousemuir, near Falkirk, since the 1920s.

A spokeswoman for Grant Thornton said it had received some expressions of interest in taking over the business, which also makes the Wham bar, Pan Drops and Bonbons.

In March 2005, the company - then known as McCowan's - went into receivership, but was saved a year later after a deal was struck with an investment company.

The firm was originally founded by Andrew McCowan, who was born near Crieff in the late 19th Century.

He established his business in Stenhousemuir in the early 1920s, eventually launching its best-known product, Highland Toffee.

The company was sold to Nestle in the 1960s and was the subject of a management buyout in the late 1980s before being bought by Dutch company Phideas in the mid 1990s.

There was another management buyout in 2003, and in 2004 a £125,000 Regional Selective Assistance Grant was awarded for an expansion project.

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