FRP administrators to wind down Cleveland Bridge UK

15 September 2021 2 min. read

Cleveland Bridge UK is set to be wound down, after administrators failed to secure a sale of the firm’s assets. FRP Advisory has confirmed that closure is now the only option for the construction firm.

Founded in 1877, Cleveland Bridge UK was an engineering and construction company, specialising in large scale steel structural engineering. As well as having worked on various bridges, such as Hong Kong’s Tsing Ma Bridge, and the Infinity Bridge in Stockton Upon Tees, the firm also notably helped with the construction of the new Wembley Stadium Arch.

In late 2000, the Al Rushaid Group acquired a 50% share of the company. After falling on tougher times amid the pandemic, in July 2021 Cleveland Bridge sought further funding from the Al Rushaid Group, warning 220 staff of potential redundancies. It was reported to be on the brink of administration after a major Sri Lankan bridge building programme was put on hold.

FRP administrators to wind down Cleveland Bridge UK

In this case, the Al Rushaid Group decided not to put any more money into the business, and administrator FRP Advisory was instead appointed, putting the business up for sale. Pending a sale of the company, the administrators planned a limited resumption of production at the Darlington factory in early August 2021. 

Initially, 53 workers were made redundant, while 128 staff were furloughed under the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme pending the intended restart of production. This left around 25 staff to assist FRP; however, FRP was unable to find a buyer for the business. In mid-September FRP subsequently announced that Cleveland Bridge would be wound down over a two-week period, and close with the loss of the remaining 133 jobs.

Martyn Pullin, David Willis, and Iain Townsend of specialist business advisory firm FRP have overseen the process as Joint Administrators since July. While they will continue to search for assurances required from a buyer to confirm their ability to proceed, the business is now expected to cease production as of the week commencing September 20th.

Pullin, a Partner at FRP, said, “We have worked tirelessly in the hope of finding a buyer who would continue to operate Cleveland Bridge as a going concern, running a thorough and extensive sales process. However, with no current viable offers remaining to take the business on, we must now prepare for a property and asset sale… Regrettably, production will finally end on site later this month. Our specialist employment team will continue to work closely with the staff, their representatives, Unions and the council to support all the workers through what we know has been an extremely challenging time.”