Contractor working on Blues stand collapses into administration

Buckingham Group Contracting, the business set to work on Birmingham City’s Tilton and Kop stands, has entered administration, leading to the loss of almost 500 jobs.

Grant Thornton has been appointed as administrator of the £700m-turnover group and has managed to sell its rail assets and its HS2 contract to Kier for £9.6m, rescuing around 180 jobs.

However, it has also announced the axing of 446 staff, after failing to find buyers for building, civil engineering, demolition, major projects and sport and leisure operations.

Mike Kempley, chairman at Buckingham Group Contracting, said: “After 36 years of uninterrupted trading, this is an extremely sad day for all the exceptionally committed and talented people who have made Buckingham Group Contracting the business it is.

“In moving to Kier, we are sure our Rail & HS2 teams are in good hands and will continue to deliver an excellent service.”

Blues bosses were aiming for the lower tier of the Tilton to open by the end of September and for the Kop to be fully open by the end of November.

After Buckingham ceased trading and issued a notice of intention to appoint administrators on August 17, the club said it was holding emergency meetings to understand and assess the impact of the news.

In a statement, it said: “It is our new owners stated ambition to ensure this work be completed in a timely manner, and all safety tests successfully passed, so our teams can play in front of 30,000 Blues fans again.

“We want to give you your home back and to give our teams the level of noise and support that only a full St. Andrew’s can deliver. As soon as we have more information we will share it”.

The news will also be a huge blow to Liverpool Football Club, which is still waiting to open the £80m upper tier of the new stand which will increase the club’s capacity to 61,000.

Rob Parker, Jon Roden and Kevin Coates, of Grant Thornton, were appointed as joint administrators of the employee-owned business on September 4.

Rob Parker, director at Grant Thornton, said the business was impacted by recent significant cashflow pressures and subsequent losses. He added that the directors and its advisors had tried to deliver a successful refinancing to secure the future of the business.

But he said the legacy issues faced by Buckingham Group and ongoing losses were simply too great to enable the refinance to succeed in an acceptable timescale.

He added: “The joint administrators intend to continue to operate part of the company’s head office function for a short period, in support of the purchaser, retaining around 45 employees.”