Staff told firm will be wound up if buyer for 144-year-old business cannot be found

Stricken firm Cleveland Bridge has collapsed into administration with the pandemic being blamed for its demise.

And administrators, who were appointed earlier today, have warned that the £48m turnover business will be wound up if it cannot find a buyer soon.

cleveland bridge

Administrators are now looking for a buyer to save the stricken firm

The firm’s 220 staff at its Darlington headquarters were told yesterday they were at risk of losing their jobs.

A further 98 are employed as contractors at Darlington and various other sites across the country.

FRP Advisory is now trying to stitch together a rescue plan for a firm which was set up in 1877 and whose roster of jobs includes the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Severn Crossing and the Wembley Stadium arch and roof.

In a statement, FRP said: “The Joint Administrators will now market the business for sale and engage with CBUK’s clients to discuss continued support on live projects. The Administrators will engage with staff and decisions will be made on any necessary redundancies.”

Joint administrator Martyn Pullin added: “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.”

The company, which has been majority owned by Saudi Arabian Al Rushaid Group since 2002, reported a £457,000 pre-tax loss in its last set of accounts for the year to December 2019 on turnover up 30% to £48m.

In the accounts, the firm warned that “political uncertainty, in both the UK and Sri Lanka [where it has several jobs] in early 2019, meant [there had been] delays on project starts”.