Interpath overseeing Chartham Paper Mill administration

30 November 2022 Consultancy.uk 2 min. read

Dozens of people have lost their jobs as Chartham Paper Mill has appointed administrators from Interpath Advisory. According to the professionals, staff and firms owed £6 million by the Mill are ‘highly unlikely’ to see the cash they are owed.

Chartham Paper Mill is a 284-year-old Kent business, operating near Canterbury. Recent years have seen it face continued headwinds – and just two years ago, 80 jobs were saved at the site when a successful buyout was negotiated following insolvency proceedings against French parent company Arjowiggens and Sequana.

However, Arjowiggins Group's UK operations – which owns historic mills at Chartham and Stoneywood in Scotland – has since been placed in administration again. Administrators Blair Nimmo and Alistair McAlinden were appointed from Interpath Advisory, to oversee the administration of 10 Arjowiggins Group UK subsidiary companies.

Interpath overseeing Chartham Paper Mill administration

The joint administrators made 368 of the company’s 463 UK-based employees redundant immediately. Of those, 67 were understood to be working at Chartham Paper Mill, which had a total headcount of 91.

A statement from Interpath read, "Unfortunately, the Group has faced a difficult trading environment since the negative impact of Covid-19 on trading and cashflow which meant that the Group has been loss-making, with losses exacerbated in more recent times by the significant increases in energy costs and the price of raw materials, including pulp…

A total of 95 members of staff have been retained by the joint administrators to assist them with the operation of limited activity across the two sites whilst they explore any possibility of a sale of the sites and assets. Of those, 24 employees at Chartham were retained to assist the administrators with operations.

Two months on, Interpath has yet to receive any “credible” offers to buy the mill. A spokesperson told local news site Kent Online that “the joint administrators remain open to discussions with any interested party who is in a position to put forward a credible offer.”

At the same time, Chartham Paper Mill owes a long list of stakeholders, staff and firms a combined £6 million, according to the same source. Speaking to Kent Online, joint administrator Alistair McAlinden confirmed that almost £5.2 million is owed to staff as “unsecured creditors” – a figure consisting of any salaries in excess of £800, coupled with pay in lieu of notice and expenses – along with £1.03 million yet to be paid to scores of businesses – and that both sums are “highly unlikely” to be returned.