(Adds background, Imperial Brands' comment)
LONDON, Nov 28 (Reuters) - British retail supplier Palmer & Harvey has been placed in administration with the immediate loss of some 2,500 jobs, accounting firm PwC, which has been appointed to oversee the process, said on Tuesday.
The group, which delivers cigarettes, food and drinks to retail chains and convenience stores, has been by hit by challenging trading conditions in recent months and efforts to restructure it have been unsuccessful, PwC said in a statement.
P&H, one of Britain's largest private companies, has been unable to secure additional funding to support the business, PwC said, adding that it had been necessary to make about 2,500 of P&H's 3,400 employees redundant immediately.
Palmer & Harvey could not be reached for comment.
One of P&H's suppliers, tobacco company Imperial Brands , said it expects a one-time profit hit in the current year of up to 160 million pounds ($213 million), mostly related to excise duty which is non-recoverable. It does not anticipate any significant disruption to its UK operations.
Imperial, maker of Gauloises cigarettes, said it had been working for several months on a rescue plan for P&H and "was prepared to explore further alternatives but other parties have been unwilling to pursue these to a successful conclusion."
Imperial and rival Japan Tobacco International both hired advisers to examine options to rescue P&H earlier this year.. A spokeswoman for the Japanese company's international division was not immediately available to comment.
Carlyle Group, which had been in talks to buy P&H as part of a rescue deal, declined to comment.
The administrators said they are continuing to explore options for a sale of several P&H entities including P&H Direct Van Sales Ltd, P&H Sweetdirect Ltd and P&H Snacksdirect Ltd.
Grocer Tesco's 3.7 billion pound deal to acquire rival wholesaler Booker Group was expected to put further pressure on P&H's business. ($1 = 0.7495 pounds) (Additional reporting by Ben Martin; editing by Alexander Smith)