200 jobs lost as 60-year-old Preston manufacturing firm goes into administration

The 2016 fire at Total Polyfilm
The 2016 fire at Total Polyfilm
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Administrators have been called in to a Preston manufacturing firm, with the majority of its 200-strong workforce made redundant.

Total Polyfilm, which manufactured polythene film for agricultural and industrial use at sites in Walton Summit and Brighouse, West Yorkshire, failed to recover from a fire at its Preston base in 2016, which required a complete rebuild.

Although the reinstated site did become fully operational - the company revealing in June that sales had passed the £45m mark and gross profits were up to £8.6m - it experienced the loss of certain key customers and a declining order book, which resulted in liquidity issues.

Rick Harrison and David Costley-Wood from KPMG’s Restructuring practice have been appointed joint administrators and are now seeking buyers for the remaining business and its assets.

Following the appointment of the joint administrators, production ceased at both sites.

The majority of the firm’s 206-strong workforce have been made redundant. Seventeen members of staff have been retained to assist the joint administrators with the winding-down of operations.

Rick Harrison, partner at KPMG and joint administrator said: “The directors of the business recently embarked on an accelerated sales process to bring further investment into the business. However, with the cash position of the company worsening rapidly, and despite a number of interested parties, a deal was unable to be concluded in the short timescales available.

“Our focus over the coming days will be to seek buyers for the business and assets of the Company and to liaise with those employees who have been made redundant, ensuring they are provided with the support and information they need to claim their statutory entitlements from the Redundancy Payments Office.

“With the support of the Company’s lender, I am, however, pleased to say that we have reached an agreement to pay all of the redundant employees’ wage arrears.”

The fire in May 2016 took sixty firefighters five hours to get under control.

Residents in the Bamber Bridge area were warned to keep their windows and doors closed as a large cloud of thick black smoke hung over the site.

Roads leading to the industrial park were closed by police and workers at nearby companies were being advised to stay away from the area.

The alarm was raised at 2.50am on the day, when smoke was spotted coming from the maintenance department at the factory in Seedley Road. Two crews from Bamber Bridge attended and, although the fire was only small at that stage, it rapidly spread throughout the building.

Extra crews were called in from stations across the county to deal with the incident, and later firefighters were praised for the way they prevented the blaze spreading to nine raw material silos adjacent to the factory.