Anfield stand builder had been on brink since last month

Buckingham collapsed into administration this evening with nearly 450 jobs lost straight away from the divisions administrators couldn’t sell.

Grant Thornton was appointed administrator earlier today and immediately axed 446 jobs from its building, civils, major projects, sport and leisure and demolition businesses.

Earlier, Kier saved 180 jobs with a deal to buy the firm’s £150m-plus turnover rail business, which includes its work for Network Rail and HS2, for £9.6m.

Grant Thornton said 45 people from Buckingham’s head office near Silverstone would remain on the books for “a short period” to help complete the sale of the rail business to Kier.


Buckingham was set up in 1987 but today it collapsed into administration with close to 500 jobs set to go

But joint administrator Rob Parker added: “It is with regret, that despite the best efforts of the directors and the Company’s advisers, a sale of the Company’s remaining divisions (Building, Civil Engineering, Demolition, Major Projects and Sport & Leisure) was not possible. As a result 446 employees from these divisions together with some other central roles at the Company have been made redundant following the Company entering administration.”

The collapse of Buckingham, which was set up in 1987, leaves a number of high-profile jobs in limbo include its scheme to build new stands at Liverpool’s Anfield ground and its deal to build the new Riverside stand at Fulham’s Craven Cottage stadium.

The Anfield job has already been delayed until October after it was originally supposed to have been finished in time for the start of the new Premier League season last month.

And the job at Fulham was meant to have been ready in time for the start of the 2021/22 season but last month the Cottagers admitted fit-out work on bars and restaurants at the stand would not be completed until next year.

Buckingham’s chairman Mike Kempley said “many other businesses are now engaging with the remaining 500 or so Buckingham employees” to help them find jobs.

But he admitted: ‘’After 36 years of uninterrupted trading, this is an extremely sad day for all the exceptionally committed and talented people who have made Buckingham Group Contracting the business it is. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the client and supply chain businesses who have supported the Company over many years.’’

The implosion is the biggest in contracting since the collapse of Carillion at the start of 2018.

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Buckingham has been on the brink of folding since last month when it said it intended to appoint an administrator after racking up “deep losses and interim cash deficits on the three major stadium and arena contracts, and a substantial earthworks contract in Coventry”.

Though not named, the stadium jobs are believed to be the new stands at Liverpool and Fulham while the firm is still carrying out work on a multi-storey car park opposite Swansea Arena. The arena was completed by Buckingham for the city council last year but the car park is running months behind schedule after the paint, which coats the steel on the structure of the car park, needed to be removed and reapplied.

At the time it flagged its note to appoint an administrator, Buckingham said it was looking to “explore a sale of all or part of the business in a very short period” – which it said on 17 August would be within days or weeks – “to preserve as much of the business as possible”.

Grant Thornton said it had been trying to get a refinancing deal over the line for the past few months but added: “The legacy issues faced by the Company and ongoing losses were simply too great to enable the refinance to succeed in an acceptable timescale.”

In its last set of accounts, for the year to December 2021, Buckingham’s turnover went up 14% to £665m but the firm racked up a £10.7m pre-tax loss with the firm blaming a bust subcontractor and a client that kept changing its mind on a stadium contract, widely believed to be its scheme at Fulham’s Craven Cottage ground, sending it to only its second annual pre-tax loss since being set up. The firm had been predicting income this year of around £700m.