Council out in cold as gritter firm hits skids
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.