Palmer & Harvey paid out around £70 million in dividends over the last nine years, despite wracking up multimillion-pound losses.
The embattled grocery wholesaler, which supplied 90,000 retailers across the UK, reportedly paid out more than £8 million a year in dividends to its private shareholders and directors since 2009.
These payouts were dished out despite making losses of £10 million a year in every year but 2014.
Its net debt has also been consistently over £29 million every year since 2011, topping £43.6 million in 2016.
Following its demise into administration last week, which saw 2500 people lose their jobs and placed another 900 at risk, the news is likely to invite criticism from both its former employees and the retailers it supplied.
Convenience store chain Costcutter, which trades from 2200 stores across the country, was left without a supplier for a large portion of its goods following Palmer & Harvey’s demise last week.
Co-op will now supply the grocery chain in Palmer & Harvey’s place.
Swathes of McColl’s stores were also left without a supplier as a result of Palmer & Harvey’s collapse, but the convenience chain has since turned to Nisa for a short-term contract.