Councils offer lending lifeline to Forrest

Greater Manchester Combined Authority has stepped in with £2m to help refinance struggling contractor Forrest to ensure it can deliver a £600m order book, much of it in social housing.

The loan was part of a wider refinancing package agreed in recent days which includes new shareholder equity funding and a revolving credit facility. The GMCA enters as a new lender to the group replacing the Royal Bank of Scotland. Palatine Private Equity remains as majority shareholder, with Lloyds Development Capital and management.

A GMCA spokesperson said: “This investment will safeguard three hundred jobs in Bolton and the Greater Manchester area.”

The Bolton-based company also announced the departure of Lee McCarren, chief executive, who leaves the business by mutual agreement.

Bob Holt, chairman of Forrest, said in a statement: “The new funding deal provides a strong financial platform that will enable Forrest to deliver growth over the next few years, whilst maintaining the Company ethos of providing personalised, customer focussed services. The Board thanks our clients and supply chain for their continued support during the refinancing process.”

McCarren stated: “I have had a great time leading the Forrest business and working with its great book of customers but believe that now is the perfect time, in view of the new investment, for me to depart and go onto a new challenge. I wish the business great success going forward.”

Earlier this month, Forrest announced 30 job losses as part of a restructure to reflect this change and diversification of revenue.

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