Buckingham Group Contracting has formally entered administration seeing the loss of nearly 450 jobs and amid the sale of its Rail division to Kier Group.
It comes after the Buckinghamshire company filed a notice of intention to appoint an administrator on 16 August, just two weeks after Group managing director, Ian McSeveney, tendered his resignation after 17 years due to “long-term health reasons”.
Deputy Group managing director, Simon Walkley, was at the time promoted to group MD.
Consultants from accounting firm Grant Thornton were appointed as joint administrators on Monday, 4 September.
Company directors and their advisers had been trying to secure refinancing for the £700 million turnover business in the wake of “significant cashflow pressures”.
But legacy issues and ongoing losses were “simply too great”, wrote the Group.
“After 36 years of uninterrupted trading, this is an extremely sad day for all the exceptionally committed and talented people who have made Buckingham Group Contracting the business it is,” said Mike Kempley, chairman at Buckingham Group.
Kier Group has agreed to acquire all the rail assets of Buckingham Group, and its HS2 contract, for £9.6 million, safeguarding 180 jobs.
It will become part of Kier’s Transportation business, which designs, builds and maintains infrastructure for various sectors, including rail, highways, aviation and ports.
Buckingham’s remaining divisions, however – Building, Civil Engineering, Demolition, Major Projects and Sport & Leisure – could not be sold to new owners.
446 employees from these divisions, together with some central roles at Buckingham, have been made redundant.
Administrators will continue to operate part of Buckingham Group’s head office for a short time, during the period of transfer to Kier, retaining approximately 45 Buckingham employees.
Kempley said: “In moving to Kier, we are sure our Rail and HS2 teams are in good hands and will continue to deliver an excellent service, and many other businesses are now engaging with the remaining 500 or so Buckingham employees.
He added: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank the clients and supply chain businesses who have supported the Company over many years.”
Grant Thornton said: “The Grant Thornton team will work with the employees affected to support them through this process.”
- Pinsent Mason
- Leslie Keats (QS)
- Howes Percival
“The Buckingham Group Rail business had built a very strong reputation for assured delivery in the rail sector. I am pleased that we now welcome 180 new colleagues into Kier Transportation. The team will further strengthen our capability, and this helps to bring an end to a period of uncertainty for former Buckingham Group clients and employees by ensuring continued delivery on existing projects, and the retention of hugely important skills and expertise in the rail sector,” said Joe Incutti, Group managing director at Kier Transportation.
Andrew Davies, chief executive at Kier Group, added: “We have previously stated that we would consider value accretive acquisitions in core markets where there is potential to accelerate the medium-term value creation plan. This acquisition is one such example – it is an excellent strategic fit and accelerates our rail strategy, providing work with new rail clients and increasing our capabilities. I am delighted to welcome our new employees, clients and suppliers to Kier.”
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