Cleveland Bridge’s Saudi Arabian owner Al Rushaid Group has decided not to put any more money into propping up the business and walked away.
Joint administrators Martyn Pullin, David Willis and Iain Townsend of specialist business advisory firm FRP have been appointed to help save the steel fabricator, which has 221 staff at its Darlington headquarters and satellite office in Newport, opened in 2018. The business also has nearly 100 contracted workers on its books.
Martyn Pullin, partner at FRP, 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.
“CBUK is a business with a proud history and a formidable track record of engineering excellence. It also has great potential and should attract interest from the steel fabricants sector and other firms looking to break into the specialist bridge building market. Unfortunately, without significant investment, the business will be wound up. That is why we’re calling on any interested parties to come forward.
“Regrettably, the business is unable to continue operating at its current capacity. We are urgently reviewing contracted work in progress to determine the shape of the business going forward.”
Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen said: “Cleveland Bridge is a business with an amazing heritage that has been responsible for some of the world’s most iconic structures, including the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Shard skyscraper in London. The skills of its workers are second to none and have led to the company having an enviable global reputation.
“The company has a full order book for the next 18-months, this coupled with the firm’s history, expertise and highly skilled workforce makes me optimistic that a buyer will come forward quickly for the business.”
Calling in administrators at Cleveland Bridge follows a round of voluntary redundancies in April, which put the writing on the wall.
Latest accounts, for 2019, show a pre-tax loss of £157,000 on turnover of £48m, compared to a £1m profit on £37m turnover in 2018. When filing the 2019 accounts, on 30th March 2021, the directors said they had “a reasonable expectation that the company will have adequate resources to continue in operation existence for the foreseeable future”.