Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 April 2014

Chill wind for workers as fridge firm WR Refrigeration faces winding up

Administrators have been appointed to a Leicester refrigeration company, putting 13 jobs at risk at the firm's Belfast base.

The engineering posts are based at WR Refrigeration's Dargan Crescent service centre, which is one of five bases it operates across the UK, but administrators PwC said workers will be paid for work done until further notice.

Employment tops 600 people at all the sites and although the firm had turnover of £58m in 2012, profits have been badly hit over the last few months, according to PwC.

It said difficult trading conditions had prompted a deterioration in the business, despite extra funding being made available from both the company's lenders and the owners.

Rob Hunt and Eddie Williams from PwC have been appointed administrators and Mr Williams said continued losses and "cash pressures" prompted the issue of the winding up petition by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

"Over the last few weeks the directors, funders and other key stakeholders have been in extensive dialogue with regards to securing additional financial support for the business, particularly in light of the winding up petition," he said.

"Unfortunately, these discussions have not been successful and have led to our appointment as administrators.

He said PwC would make an assessment of the business before deciding on the best course of action.

"Our immediate priority is to engage with employees, key customers and suppliers and to review the company's financial position and its underlying profitability.

"We are pleased to confirm that employees will be paid for work done prior to our appointment; and wages will continue to be paid until further notice.

Despite the commitment to workers' wages, the future of the company is far from certain.

Mr Williams added: "However, unfortunately, the level of losses and funding requirements mean that the business may not be able to continue to trade and ultimately faces the real risk of imminent closure."

FACTFILE

What is an administrator?

An administrator is an insolvency practitioner who is appointed by either the company itself, the directors, or one or more secured (such as a bank or finance company) or unsecured creditors.

What is administration?

Administration is designed to protect the business while the administrator forms plans to either put in place a financial restructuring to rescue the company, or to sell the business and assets to produce a better result for creditors than a liquidation; or where neither can be achieved, to liquidate assets and distribute the proceeds to secured or preferential creditors.