To date, La Ibense 1892 -La Ibense Bornay was its original name until a few years ago- is considered the oldest ice cream parlor in Spain. Founded in 1892 by Carlos Bornay, a native of Ibi (Alicante), he set up the company in Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Cádiz). After several crises, it seems that the definitive closure of La Ibense is a reality. The company’s current debt amounted to 12 million euros. The former workers -many of them had been there for more than 30 years- are waiting to know how much they are owed.
To understand how this renowned ice cream company has reached this fateful point, we will review a journey that has been full of lights and shadows.
First they started selling ice cream during the summer and the rest of the year they offered cakes and coffee. Until 1965 when they took a leap in their business with the industrial manufacture of ice cream, without abandoning the artisan touch that characterized them. In the 80’s they expanded their plant in the town of Cádiz and had already focused on exporting their product.
Its first major crisis came with the Seville Expo. La Ibense became the official supplier, which meant a large economic outlay. It was an exclusivity agreement, so that only their ice cream would be offered at the Expo, but this was not respected and the company went to court to try to recover the huge investment it had made. They did not receive any amount, but they managed to come out ahead again.
Change of headquarters and owners
In 2009 they were in an excellent business moment. With annual revenues exceeding 10 million euros, they decided to move their headquarters from Sanlúcar to Jérez, in a modern center in the Technology Park, with a capacity to produce 30 million liters of ice cream per year. The Bornays were counting on the sale of the old site in Sanlúcar for around 8 million euros, but in the end they only received 1 million from the construction company, which was a hard economic blow for the company.
Thus, in 2014, La Ibense went into receivership and a year later it was acquired 100% by the investor group Sainberg with the intention of refloating it. But nothing could be further from the truth. In spite of having a commercial expansion plan and even opening its first store in Madrid, the pandemic left the company even more affected. In July 2022, they entered again in insolvency proceedings until preparing the exinctive ERE that meant the definitive closure of La Ibense, which has been the oldest ice cream parlor in Spain.
Now it will be up to the courts to finally decide on the financial compensation of the former workers. The current owners of La Ibense have liquidated the company without an agreement to compensate the workforce, so everything is in the hands of Justice.
Click here to read the Spanish version.