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Creditors wait on news of refrigeration giant’s fate

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Creditors, partners and employees of WR Refrigeration continue to wait on news of the industrial refrigeration giant’s fate following its shock collapse into administration.

Eddie Williams and Rob Hunt of PwC were appointed joint administrators of the Leicester-based firm last week after funding issues led the company’s directors to seek help.

WR provides the installation, repair and servicing of refrigeration and air conditioning units to the retail, distribution and wholesale sectors throughout the UK. It employs 600 people in addition to a number of sub-contractors, and made sales of £58m last year.

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WR was seen as a giant within the industrial refrigeration sector, but PwC said the company had experienced “difficult trading conditions” in recent months.

Extra funding, in addition to the significant investment already provided, was made available by the existing lenders and owners to help facilitate a turnaround of the business. However, continuing losses with associated cash pressures led to a winding up petition being issued by HMRC earlier this month, which meant that the business required additional funding beyond that originally projected.

The company was unable to secure this financial support for the business, forcing it to appoint administrators.

Eddie Williams, joint administrator and director at PwC, said: “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. Unfortunately, these discussions have not been successful and have led to our appointment as administrators.”

Williams said last week that PwC’s immediate priority was to engage with employees, key customers and suppliers and to rapidly review the company’s financial position and underlying profitability.

“We are pleased to confirm that employees will be paid for work done prior to our appointment. Also, ongoing wages will be paid until further notice. However, unfortunately, the level of losses and funding requirements mean that the business may not be able to continue to trade and faces the real risk of imminent closure.”

The company’s current plight comes just a few months after it announced it was establishing five new Regional Service Operations as centres of excellence across the country.

It said the new structure was designed to ensure the most efficient use of manpower and technical expertise across the country, and would support its “continued growth”, which included 30% revenue growth last year.

Mike Nicholas, managing director of WR Refrigeration, said at the time: “Our successful delivery of major new contracts for a number of national retailers, managed and controlled centrally, has provided a model for how we can deliver service excellence for all our customers.

“The most important measure is not the number of branches you have on the ground, but the speed and quality of response in meeting customers’ needs. We are confident that the new Regional Service Operations, supported by a major investment in new IT infrastructure, provide the optimum structure to deliver service excellence to our customers across the UK.”

Tags : administrationcatering equipmentrefrigerantsRefrigeration
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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