KPMG to oversee Northern manufacturer administration

27 September 2019 2 min. read

The fallout from a serious fire in 2016 has seen Northern manufacturer Total Polyfilm collapse into administration, costing the region more than 200 jobs. Administrators from KPMG have been appointed to oversee the firm’s winding down, and will be assisted by the 17 remaining employees of the company.

Preston-based Total Polyfilm once produced 40,000 tonnes of polythene film for agricultural and industrial use each year, with annual revenues around £50 million. It operated from a site in Lancashire and another in Brighouse, West Yorkshire. The firm’s problems began in 2016, when a serious fire tore through its Preston-based Walton Summit site.

After the dust had settled, the company struggled to fully recover from the blaze. By the time the property was rebuilt and became operational again, it had lost a number of key customers and its reduced order book led to liquidity problems.

KPMG to oversee Northern manufacturer administration

The directors of the business recently embarked on an accelerated sales process to bring further investment into the business. However, with the cash position of the company worsening rapidly, and despite a number of interested parties, a deal was unable to be concluded in the short timescales available. As a result, Total Polyfilm has appointed administrators from KPMG.

Rick Harrison and David Costley-Wood from KPMG have been appointed joint administrators to Total Polyfilm, and production has now ceased at all of the company’s plants. The majority of its 206 workforce have subsequently lost their jobs, while a small team of 17 has been retained to assist winding down operations, while buyers are sought for the business and assets.

Commenting on the news, Harrison, a Partner at KPMG, said, "Our focus over the coming days will be to seek buyers for the business and assets of the company and to liaise with those employees who have been made redundant, ensuring they are provided with the support and information they need to claim their statutory entitlements from the redundancy payments office. With the support of the company’s lender, I am, however, pleased to say that we have reached an agreement to pay all of the redundant employees’ wage arrears."

The UK has seen the number of manufacturing jobs fall by 17% over the past decade, with around 620,000 jobs lost, according to estimates based on data from the Office of National Statistics. The North-West was one of the worst hit regions, haemorrhaging around 80,000 jobs since 2006.