All telephone callers were being handled by Storage Control Systems – a tenant in ICA’s building – after ICA was shut down from 21 March. Alistair Holt-Thomas is dealing with day to day issues on behalf of London based insolvency practitioners FRP Advisory LLP.

Asked by South East Farmer whether he had managed to find a buyer for the business, Mr Holt-Thomas said: “I’m afraid we have had to shut the business down.” Further inquiries were directed to Morgan Rossiter, a public relations firm. But James Rossiter from the firm had not returned our calls by the time the magazine went to press.

ICA’s managing director was Andrew Wills, and the business began in 1937 when his great great grandfather, Harry Lawrence, built a cold store for apples in Kent. Since then, ICA has built many fresh produce controlled atmosphere rooms, some of which have featured in South East Farmer.

An online article published in December 2015 said ICA’s operating profits fell by nearly £1 million in 2014 as margins were squeezed. Turnover slipped to just below £13 million in 2014, compared to £15.2 million and £10.4 million in the previous two years respectively. Operating profits fell to £544,000, down from £1.4 million a year earlier.

At the time, ICA said turnover had been hit by the introduction of a European Union grant which meant some revenues were deferred to 2014 as customers applied for grant funding. This was a “significant factor in the 14% reduction in annual turnover” compared to the previous year. But order books were said to be increasing and ICA had invested £200,000 expanding its offices and production facilities.