A BUILDERS’ merchant firm that collapsed into administration has been given hope of survival after it was confirmed interest has been shown in buying the company.
Sunderland-based A Thompson, which trades as Thompson Building Centres and TAPS plumbing centres, revealed last week it had suffered cash-flow problems as a result of pressure from banks and trade credit insurance.
Managing director Anne Ganley had hoped to enter into a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) but a winding-up petition from HM Revenue and Customs put paid to that option, prompting the appointment of an administration team from KPMG.
Mark Firmin, Howard Smith and Paul Flint, from its restructuring practice, were initially only made joint administrators of the builder’s merchants arm of the firm, which has 70 employees.
Yesterday, however, they were also put in charge of TAPS plumbing merchants, which employs around 20 staff across six branches in the North East.
Mr Firmin, joint administrator and regional head of restructuring at KPMG, said: “It has become clear that the trading and cash-flow challenges that led to insolvency for Thompson builders merchants have similarly impacted on TAPS, resulting in our appointment.”
Thompson had seemed to be performing well despite widespread problems in the construction industry, and in 2011 its revenues rose to £16.6m from £13.8m a year earlier, allowing it to increase the size of its workforce from 85 staff to around 110 on the back of its growth.
Outlets were closed yesterday, however, as staff assisted the administrators in the assessment of the business.
A spokeswoman for KPMG said it was too early to reveal the full extent of debts owed by the firm, but that the team were actively marketing it as a going concern, which had already proved fruitful. The spokeswoman said: “It is very early days in terms of marketing the business, but I can confirm that interest has already been shown in buying both parts of the business, although I can’t reveal exactly how many parties have contacted us.
“Unfortunately as KPMG have only just taken over as administrators of the plumbing centres, it is too early to talk about the level of debt as we are still assessing the finances.”
Any party interested in acquiring some or all of either or both businesses should contact James Lumb on behalf of the administrators immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org.