A DORSET perfumery business has been sold and restructured after falling into liquidation with members of staff claiming they are owed money.

Millgarden Botanics LLP, which launched in 2015 to produce flowers for perfumes, entered insolvency at the end of last year after the business was hit by numerous financial difficulties.

Based at Keyneston Mill in Blandford, the firm also ran an onsite bistro, gift shop and offered garden tours and perfume-making classes. The site was recently put on the market for £3.75m.

During the liquidation process, business recovery specialists at Begbies Traynor stepped in to oversee the successful sale to a new entity, titled Botany to Bottle, which saved six jobs.

The new company will focus on its core purpose of perfumery.

Bournemouth Echo:

Millgarden Botanics ended up with debts of £1.63m, with around £22,000 owed to staff through missed holiday pay and unpaid monthly salaries missed. HMRC was also owed £124,000.

Reasons for Millgarden Botanics’ woes included the impact of the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis, in addition to insufficient marketing activity and staffing levels exceeding revenue.

One former worker, who asked to remain anonymous, said he and his former colleagues were notified of the liquidation in October and that it had come as a “shock”.

He said: “At the time it was a shock as we were expecting to get paid. There had been issues with pay and issues with money.”

Bournemouth Echo: Botanical gardens at Keyneston MillBotanical gardens at Keyneston Mill (Image: Strutt & Parker/Rightmove)

The sale and restructure was handled by Stephen Powell, a partner at Begbies Traynor.

Mr Powell said: “Millgarden Botanics, which was on course to become a profitable business in 2020/21, was seriously affected by the pandemic before being hit by the cost of living crisis.

“When the directors sought my advice last autumn, it was clear that despite difficult circumstances, this was a business with huge potential, particularly given its niche position in the UK perfumery market.

“I’m very pleased to be able to confirm the successful sale and restructure and wish the directors every success for the future.”

Keyneston Mill, which is located just off the A350, dates back from early 19th century but it is believed there has been a mill on this site since the 1100s.