Belfast Telegraph

Hope for jobs as owner set to buy back bust concrete firm

By Margaret Canning

The owner of a Co Tyrone concrete business is expected to buy back the business safeguarding nearly 400 jobs after its holding company went into administration.

Raymond Acheson is to buy Acheson & Glover Limited and Acheson & Glover Precast Limited, which employ 380 people in total.

Non-trading group company Acheson & Glover Group Limited, based in Fivemiletown, suffered heavy losses in the construction downturn, which reached £21m in 2009.

The group company was put into administration last week.

However, the firm said it would be business as usual after managing director Raymond Acheson reached a deal with Bank of Ireland so that it would finance his purchase of the trading subsidiary companies after he set up a new firm.

A company spokesman said: "This would enable the trading business to continue as normal without any impact on staff, suppliers or customers."

While the two subsidiaries now employ 380 people it total, the group had around 749 in 2007 before the construction downturn took hold.

Acheson and Glover Ltd has 200 staff and makes paving, walling and kerbing products in the UK and Ireland, and has a turnover of over £16m, a spokesman said.

Acheson & Glover Precast employs 180 people in making concrete products for construction, and has a turnover of around £16m, he said.

In 2007 the group acquired rival Finlay Breton, one year after buying Seagoe Concrete Products.

Michael Jennings and Brian Murphy of business advisers BDO were appointed administrators to Acheson & Glover Group Ltd on May 2.

Mr Jennings said: "The appointment over this holding company forms part of a planned restructuring of the company's shareholdings in conjunction with the company's bankers."

He added: "The company had too much debt and couldn't continue or even file accounts.

"The debt has been there for many, many years from acquisitions bought by the company over a long period of time."

The firm also has operations in Dungannon, Ballygawley, Pomeroy. Omagh, and in five other locations in Co Antrim, Down and Derry.

Fermanagh and South Tyrone Sinn Fein MLA Phil Flanagan welcomed the deal to keep the company going.

"They are well-known as a major employer and a lot of people would have worked there over the years.

"It's a brand synonymous with the local area and a number of changes have happened within it with it buying other companies, which then used the Acheson & Glover brand – for example, Carson's Quarry outside Belcoo.

"It's a good brand name and they have a good reputation after creating a lot of employment.

"There has been talk of difficulty for a while now and my primary concern would always be with the employees and the retention of jobs, so I'm hopeful that this measure will sustain employment."

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