Coun­cil out in cold as grit­ter firm hits skids

Argyllshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - Ex­clu­sive by Colin Cameron ed­i­[email protected]@ar­gyll­shiread­ver­

As win­ter tight­ens its grip, the safety of Ar­gyll’s roads is up in the air af­ter a firm hir­ing grit­ting lor­ries to the coun­cil an­nounced it was en­ter­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Bris­tol-based Gul­liver’s Truck Hire last week re­ported that steps had been taken to ap­point an ad­min­is­tra­tor fol­low­ing ‘dif­fi­cult trad­ing con­di­tions’.

In a let­ter to staff on Novem­ber 27, the com­pany's manag­ing di­rec­tor, Philippe Hard­ing, said that while a num­ber of po­ten­tial buy­ers had been iden­ti­fied for the busi­ness, ‘the com­pany has been un­able to se­cure the con­tin­ued sup­port of a small num­ber of key cred­i­tors to al­low suf­fi­cient time to progress that in­ter­est. As a re­sult, the di­rec­tors have had lit­tle op­tion but to file a no­tice of in­ten­tion to ap­point ad­min­is­tra­tors of court’.

While the ad­min­is­tra­tion process goes on, Gul­liver’s will con­tinue to trade, though with ‘con­strained cash­flow to con­serve the as­sets of the com­pany in so far as pos­si­ble for the ben­e­fit of cred­i­tors’.

In 2017, the com­pany re­ported a drop in sales and slipped into the red.

In the year to April 30 2017, turnover is re­ported to have slipped to £94.8m from £95.2m a year ear­lier.

Gul­liver’s also suf­fered a pre-tax loss of £200,494 for the pe­riod, af­ter gen­er­at­ing pre-tax prof­its of £4.4m in 2016.

Mr Hard­ing said at the time: ‘Com­pet­i­tive pres­sure in the UK is a con­tin­u­ing risk for the com­pany, which could re­sult in the loss of sales from key cus­tomers.’

A spokesper­son for Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil said on De­cem­ber 5: ‘We have a oneyear con­tract with Gul­liver’s and we have al­ready be­gun putting al­ter­na­tive plans in place. We, like other lo­cal au­thor­i­ties who con­tract with them, will work with the ap­pointed ad­min­is­tra­tors to lessen the im­pact of the sit­u­a­tion. This should mit­i­gate against any im­pact on our win­ter grit­ting ser­vice through­out Ar­gyll and Bute.’

The Ar­gyll­shire Ad­ver­tiser con­tacted Gul­liver’s for a com­ment, to be told that no-one was will­ing to make a state­ment at this stage.

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