Cancelled projects and centralisation led to job losses at firm bought for £1m in 2010

Apollo has let go of most of the staff at a Yeovil-based electrical firm it bought for nearly £1m, it has emerged.

Goldhall Electrical had more than 55 employees in January last year when it was bought for £965,000 to strengthen Apollo’s M&E business.

Yet the property services firm has admitted that only about 30% of the original Goldhall staff were still working for Apollo Group.

“At the time of acquisition, we knew that significant numbers would be released through centralisation of management and support functions, as is common practice with acquisitions,” it told Building.

“In addition, with the demise of contractors such as Rok, further cuts were made due to cancelled projects.”

When it was bought, Goldhall had been part of Apollo’s supply chain for four years.

Martyn Stephens, one of the founders of Goldhall, said at the time that the purchase would bring “benefits that a large national organisation can offer our staff and operations”.

Yet on 6 December last year, Apollo brought forward the integration of Goldhall because of the “economic climate” and announced a restructure of the business and the departure of Stephens and co-founder Alan Ritson.

At the time of the integration, Dave Sheridan, Apollo chief executive, stated. “The majority of staff will be retained and we expect performance on site to continue to improve as a result of strengthened links with the wider business.”

Andy Jeffery, a former employee, said that Goldhall suffered from having to take on work outside its area of expertise.

“Apollo [got] us to take on contracts that involved all works: plumbing, decorating,” he said.

An Apollo spokesperson said: “The plan was always to use Goldhall to reinforce our South-west operation.”

She said peripheral trades were carried out: “under Apollo management as part of a full service package. [Goldhall] had successfully delivered work of this nature for Apollo in the past.”