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Nine 'WT Burden' depots saved but jobs lost as four sites close

Nine of the WT Burden depots look to have been saved – but another four depots are closing down, with redundancies expected across the group, CN has learned.

Infrastructure supplier WT Burden – now known as the WTB Group – fell into administration at the end of November, having sold half its business to Wolseley.

That left WTB Group with 16 depots and 400 staff.

Administrators Duff & Phelps have been trying to find buyers for as many of the remaining depots as possible.

They sold three straight away, leaving 13 depots across the UK. They are now in the process of completing sales at four depots, with offers accepted on another five.

Administrators said there were no acceptable offers on four other depots, which will unfortunately have to close.

Several redundancies have been made across the group, while further redundancies cannot be ruled out at this stage. The number of redundancies is yet to be confirmed.

Administrators are in process of completing sales of depots in:
Fareham and Olney, Heathrow and Swindon.
Offers have also been accepted for depots in:
Oban and Dumfries, Sittingbourne, Penrith and Redruth.
At four other depots redundancies have been made as no offers were made that were acceptable:
Stockton, Lincoln, Aberdeen and Kirkcaldy.

The names of the buyers have not been disclosed at this point as the sales process is continuing.

A skeleton staff is being kept on at the closing depots. Agents are dealing with site clearances at these depots with stock and assets being sold on a piecemeal basis.

Duff & Phelps also sold three depots, in Newington, Cinderford and Dorchester.

WT Burden, an 80-year-old infrastructure products supplier group, fell into administration at the end of last month but is continuing to trade in a “quite limited way” as WTB Trading, CN was told today.

Wolseley paid £30m for 22 depots with 600 staff along with the Burdens name. That had left WTB Group with 16 depots and 400 staff. The Office of Fair Trading is currently deciding whether to probe the acquisition. It will make a decision by 31 January 2013.

Duff & Phelps sold three depots straight away to regional parties, leaving 13 depots.

The administration followed losses as the firm struggled to pay debts and secure credit. Suppliers and customers also moved to Wolseley.

WT Burden, established in Birmingham in 1929, posted turnover of £342m in 2011 and employed around 1,200 people at that time.

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