Blair Nimmo and Alistair McAlinden from Interpath Advisory were appointed joint administrators to ten Arjowiggins Group UK subsidiaries on Thursday 22 September 2022.
With origins dating back to 1738, the Group is an independent paper manufacturer, producing fine and custom papers for various purposes including graphic design, packaging and labelling, and security printing.
The Group owns and operates two mills in the UK, in Stoneywood, Aberdeen, and Chartham, Kent.
In 2019, the Group’s UK operations were established via a management buy-out following the insolvency of French parent companies, Arjowiggins and Sequana. Unfortunately, the Group has faced a difficult trading environment since the negative impact of COVID-19 on trading and cashflow which meant that the Group has been loss-making, with losses exacerbated in more recent times by the significant increases in energy costs and the price of raw materials, including pulp.
The directors of the Group worked extensively, exploring all options to safeguard the future of the business, but with a solvent solution unable to be secured, took the difficult decision to place the Group’s UK companies into administration.
Regrettably, the joint administrators made 368 of the Group’s 463 UK-based employees redundant immediately following their appointment. A total of 95 members of staff have been retained by the joint administrators to assist them with the operation of limited activity across the two sites whilst they explore any possibility of a sale of the sites and assets.
Blair Nimmo, chief executive of Interpath Advisory and joint administrator, said: “Arjowiggins has a long and proud history dating back more than 260 years, so this is immensely troubling news for UK and Scottish manufacturing.
“Unfortunately, and following on from the severe challenges posed by the pandemic, the significant economic headwinds which have been impacting industrial manufacturing businesses up and down the country, including skyrocketing energy costs and spiralling input prices, have proved to be overwhelming for the Group.”
Blair Nimmo added: “The management team has asked that we pass on their sincere thanks to all employees, customers and suppliers, plus Scottish Enterprise, for their strong support during these very difficult times, and they would like to express their deep regret that there was unfortunately no other option available for this historic Group.”
Alistair McAlinden, managing director at Interpath Advisory and joint administrator, added: “We understand this is an incredibly difficult time for the Group’s workforce. Our priority is to work closely with the Unions, UK and Scottish Government agencies, including PACE and Job Centre Plus, as well the relevant local authorities to provide members of staff with all of the support and information they need, including the information necessary to make claims for redundancy pay from the Redundancy Payments Office.
“Over the coming days and weeks, we will be exploring options to achieve the sale of the sites and assets and would ask that potential interested parties contact us as a matter of urgency.”
The Group also owns and operates mills in Spain and China via its Guarro Casas and ArjoWiggins Quzhou subsidiaries. Neither operating company is subject to insolvency proceedings.