Anfield stadium, Liverpool FC, p PNW

Buckingham Group Contracting was in the middle of construction a new stand at Anfield stadium before going bust this month. Credit: PNW

‘Extremely sad day’ as Buckingham enters administration

The main contractor, whose projects include Liverpool FC’s expanded stand and Merseyrail’s Headbolt Lane Station, has officially gone bust, leaving 446 employees without a job.

Grant Thorton’s Rob Parker, Jon Roden, and Kevin Coates were appointed as joint administrators for Buckingham Group Contracting on Monday.

“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.

Buckingham had filed a notice to appoint administrators earlier this month. At the time, it had blamed “rapidly escalating contract losses and a sharp reduction in liquidity” as the reason for its financial troubles. It was an assessment that administrators echoed in a statement on Tuesday.

Buckingham had been attempting to refinance and sell part of the company.

Ultimately, only Buckingham’s rail division was sold – with Kier Group picking up Buckingham’s HS2 contract. The sale to Kier preserved 180 jobs, according to Grant Thornton.

Under the agreement, Buckingham’s rail assets will become part of the Kier Transportation company. Kier Transportation designs, builds, and maintains a variety of transit infrastructure, including rail, highways, and aviation.

Joe Incutti, group managing director of Kier Transportation, welcomed the Buckingham employees to the Kier fold.

“The team will further strengthen our capability and this helps to bring an end to a period of uncertainty for clients and employees by ensuring continued delivery on existing projects, and the retention of hugely important skills and expertise in the rail sector,” Incutti said.

Andrew Davies, chief executive of Kier Group, said: “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.”

While the Kier sale preserved some of the company’s jobs, it was not enough to save the rest of the business.

“It is, however, with regret, that despite the best efforts of the directors and the company’s advisers, a sale of the company’s remaining divisions (building, civil engineering, demolition, major projects and sport & leisure) was not possible,” said Grant Thornton’s Parker.

“As a result, 446 employees from these divisions together with some other central roles at the company have been made redundant following the company entering administration,” he continued.

“The Grant Thornton team will work with the employees affected to support them through this process.”

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