Little Chef owner saves 200 steelwork jobs

Aaron Morby 11 years ago

Struggling Derby steelwork contractor S Robinson & Sons has been sold to Little Chef restaurant chain owner R Capital.

As first reported in the Enquirer the steelwork firm’s family owners have been in rescue talks to save the firm from collapse with business turnaround specialist R Capital for several weeks.

The Robinson family was faced with closing the 46-year-old firm’s doors for good this Christmas after cash reserves were eaten away in the downturn.

A round of redundancies is due to take place as the business is restructured, but the deal saves most of the 229-strong workforce.

The new ownership agreement secures the future of one of the country’s top 10 steelwork firms, which in its heyday turned over £40m annually.

Jamie Constable, CEO at R Capital, said: “Robinsons was up for sale for more than a year and many in the industry feared it would be closed if a buyer could not be found.

“That would have been a great shame for the UK’s construction industry so we are delighted to have reached an agreement in time for Christmas.”

Under the deal, the current boss John Robinson will retire and financial director Mike Newton will step up to lead the existing management team as new MD.

Matt Swan, a former senior manager at construction group McAlpine, has been appointed as non executive chairman by RCapital.

Newton said: “The past two years have been extremely tough for the construction industry with unprecedented challenging market conditions and we have seen many of our competitors in distress.

“We are therefore not alone in suffering from the effects of the dip in the construction industry, which has led to a dramatic downturn in demand for steel structures nationwide from 1.4m tonnes output in 2008 to 700,000 tonnes this year, coupled with a consistent increase in the price of steel.”

Following the 2007 banking crisis, Robinson’s business levels almost halved from £43m in 2008 to £29m in both 2009 and 2010.

A £7m cash reserve insulated Robinsons from the initial effects of the crisis however this could not be sustained as a long-term solution.

Cuts were made by the existing management team during the course of 2009 however high costs placed the company under immense cash pressure.

This resulted in suppliers ceasing their support as the business struggled and eventually led to the recent need for fresh investment.

“It has effectively given us the working capital to rationalise and restructure to work our way out of this extremely tough trading climate and has put the company on a secure footing for the future,” explained Newton.

“As with all construction businesses, market conditions have been tough and, although they are stabilising, there is no doubt that the next 12 to 18 months will continue to be difficult.

“We will have to make some job losses in January which is obviously unfortunate and where possible will be undertaken by voluntary redundancies.”

Latest news

Structural steel price jumps another £50 a tonne

British Steel blames New Year's price hike on continuing high product costs
7 hours ago

Green light for Birmingham Paradise landmark hotel

17-storey hotel will be the 'cornerstone' of Phase 2
6 hours ago

Enabling works start at £400m Manchester First Street

Downing to start main construction in March of three resi buildings rising up to 45 storeys
8 hours ago

Former BAM Nuttall chief to join Murphy

Adrian Savory to start new role as director of Major Projects division next month
7 hours ago

Bouygues set for London Tustin Estate 700-home rebuild

Phased building programme to start towards the end of the year
8 hours ago

Safety horror show on housing site leads to director ban

Court hears contractor ignored multiple prohibition and improvement notices
7 hours ago

JV North calls up local firms for £250m new home works

Framework for home building projects worth up to £2m
8 hours ago

Kier more than halves debts to below £200m

Kier chief reports steady progress in first six months of trading
1 day ago

Barhale boosts funds as it looks to rebuild turnover

Contractor confident as water companies ramp-up spending plans
1 day ago

HS2 labour agency looks to float on AIM

£23m turnover labour supply business looks to raise funds for expansion
1 day ago

Kane scores £29m M&E deal with Willmott Dixon

Off site works to play crucial role in major London estate contract
1 day ago

Graham secures third Audley retirement village

Work starts on Audley Villages site at Scarcroft, West Yorkshire.
1 day ago

Keltbray wins first deal for former nmcn infrastructure arm

Hull waste processing contract for rescued division
2 days ago

50 firms win £750m decarbonisation framework

Fusion21 framework to target 'whole building' works on homes and schools
2 days ago

Balfour Beatty UK construction MD to step down

Tom Edgcumbe to depart after just over a year as MD construction services in England and Wales
2 days ago

Crest Nicholson trebles cladding retrofit provisions to £43m

House builder revises building safety retrofit costs in face of new Government guidance
2 days ago

BAM bags £110m refurb of iconic Covent Garden tower

Landmark Seifert-designed 15-storey Space House to get two extra floors
3 days ago

Winvic to start UK’s largest speculative shed

Ellesmere Port warehouse understood to be worth around £80m
2 days ago

Kier signs deal for £169m Luton hospital revamp

Main construction work to start this month and last until 2024
2 days ago

Willmott Dixon nabs £30m Kirklees police HQ

Work to start within next few weeks on regional police HQ
3 days ago

Kier reported to be in talks to buy Tilbury Douglas

Talks reported to be at an advanced stage between both boards
3 days ago

Finance sealed for next-generation London office job

Goldman Sachs takes stake in London Bridge office project
3 days ago

John F Hunt starts giant clean-up on £110m Walsall site

Land remediation work at contaminated site will take two years
3 days ago

Build to rent boom lifts Watkin Jones profit to £52m

Surging build to rent market lifts development pipeline to £1.8 billion
3 days ago

HS2 awards £310m station lifts and escalators deal

TK Elevator signs 160 lifts and 130 escalators deal for four stations
4 days ago

Robot cutter set to revolutionise paving jobs for Eurovia

Automated system will spell end for noisy slab cutting on busy sites
4 days ago

First mass built carbon negative homes get underway

St Modwen first volume developer to build affordable carbon-negative homes
4 days ago

GMI Construction names new CEO

Lee Powell takes helm as CEO at GMI Construction in growth push
4 days ago

514-home London scheme clears final hurdle

Inland Homes declares victory after three-year planning battle over Hillingdon Master Brewer site
4 days ago

Henry Construction wins £30m Clarion housing scheme

Ravensbury estate regeneration in Mitcham is Henry's first project for Clarion
4 days ago

Contractor services