Tom Scotney, Birmingham Post, 8th June, 2009
More than 800 people have lost their jobs at collapsed Birmingham van maker LDV after Administrators said they would be cutting back to a skeleton staff just hours after being appointed at the stricken firm.
Rob Hunt, Mark Hopkins and Matthew Hammond from PricewaterhouseCoopers were put in charge of the Washwood Heath firm after it was put into administration in a court case in Birmingham. The company collapsed after Malaysian group Weststar pulled out of a last-minute deal that could have saved LDV.
Of the 850 people employed at LDV, just 40 were kept on, with the remainded being made redundant by the administrators, who announced their decision at a press conference held outside the LDV headquarters.
The PwC team took over LDV, as well as subsidiary Birmingham Pressings Limited, which exclusively supplied the vanmaker. Together they employed hundreds of people at their plant and offices on Drews Lane, north Birmingham.
Mr Hunt, a partner at PwC’s Birmingham office, said: ‘The companies’ financial difficulties, which culminated in the cessation of production at the Drews Lane plant in December 2008 and an application to court to place the companies into administration in May 2009, have been widely publicised in recent months.
‘That application was withdrawn as the Directors pursued a potential sale of the business to the Malaysian firm, Weststar. Last week, Weststar withdrew from the proposed purchase which left the directors with little option other than to reapply for administration. Due to the lack of funding it has, regrettably, been necessary to make the majority of the workforce redundant and we will retain a skeleton workforce of around 40 people to maintain the site.
Over the coming days we will review all options for the companies and seek a buyer for the business and assets. We have already been approached by three parties wishing to engage with us, and we will try to ensure that a solution is found to provide a structure to take the business forward.” PricewaterhouseCooper’s Rob Hunt, Joint Administrator of LDV Group Limited
‘Our priority is to ensure that those employees made redundant, many of whom have been laid off since December, are assisted in processing their claims with immediate effect. We will be circulating correspondence to all staff within the next 48 hours as well as arranging employee workshops where employees will receive assistance in completing their redundancy payment forms. Advice and assistance will also be available at the workshops from Jobcentre Plus and the Redundancy Payments Office.
‘Over the coming days we will review all options for the companies and seek a buyer for the business and assets. We have already been approached by three parties wishing to engage with us, and we will try to ensure that a solution is found to provide a structure to take the business forward.”
Meanwhile, Birmingham City Council has set up a support hotline for LDV workers hit by the collapse of the world famous firm. The 08000 730 440 phone line was set up by the LDV Taskforce, a multi-agency body led by the Local Authority and including, Jobcentre Plus, Advantage West Midlands, The Learning and Skills Council, Accelerate and neighbouring local authorities. Available from 8am – 8pm from June 9-12, with further times to be confirmed next week, the phone line will provide a single point from which workers, suppliers, and local communities alike can access a wide range of support and advice services.
Cllr. Neville Summerfield, the LDV Taskforce Chairman, said: ‘Being able to provide a single free number through which anyone can access all the local support agencies is of the utmost importance at such a difficult and stressful time. Whether it is information on council benefits, job seekers allowance, training opportunities, support for the supply chain or debt advice, this number will provide a single point of reference for anyone affected by the fall-out of LDV’s demise.”
[Source: Birmingham Post]
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