FRP Advisory appointed for Cleveland Bridge administration

26 July 2021 2 min. read

North East construction firm Cleveland Bridge has fallen into administration, putting more than 300 jobs at risk. Professionals from FRP Advisory have been placed in charge of the sale of the firm’s assets.

Founded in Darlington in 1877, Cleveland Bridge is a historic construction firm that has been involved in a number of major projects over the following decades. The firm worked on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Victoria Falls Bridge and Middlesbrough’s Transporter Bridge, among other cases – before running into financial trouble in recent years.

Earlier in 2021, Cleveland Bridge released results for 2019 which reported a small loss – in spite of a 30% increase in revenues to £48 million. The announcement highlighted issues relating to a major contract in Sri Lanka – and while the company asserted that it had a strong order book standing at more than £76 million, delays in construction projects both in the UK and internationally because of the pandemic seem to have sealed its fate.

FRP Advisory appointed for Cleveland Bridge administration

Cleveland Bridge employs 221 staff at its headquarters and at a separate site in Wales, while it also engages with around 100 contractors across the UK. The workers face an anxious wait now, though, as the firm has been placed in administration – with no clear route to preserving the jobs.

Martyn Pullin, David Willis, and Iain Townsend of business consultancy FRP Advisory have been appointed as joint administrators to Cleveland Bridge. They are looking to sell the business, but have warned that it will have to cut costs to survive and could be wound up if a buyer cannot be found.

A statement from Pullin said, “Cleveland Bridge UK has been a flagbearer for cutting edge British engineering for more than a century. But no business is immune to the far-reaching impact of the pandemic, which has delayed major infrastructure projects around the world and put significant financial pressure on the teams behind them.”

Pulling added that he feels the firm’s “proud history and a formidable track record” mean it should “attract interest from the steel fabricants sector and other firms looking to break into the specialist bridge building market.” However, if there is not significant investment, “the business is unable to continue operating at its current capacity,” and it will need to be wound up unless interested parties come forth quickly.

Politicians and business leaders in the region have expressed support for the historic company. Ben Houchen, Mayor of the Tees Valley, has stated that he hopes that a buyer will come forward. Meanwhile, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has called for an investigation into the collapse of the business, whose orders for work around Britain included HS2.