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WT Burden staff face anxious wait as sales talks continue

Hundreds of WT Burden staff are still waiting to hear what the future of their depots will be as administrators try to negotiate sales with both regional and national suppliers.

The 80-year-old infrastructure products supplier group, which fell into administration at the end of November, is continuing to trade in a “quite limited way” as WTB Trading, CN was told today.

Administrators Duff and Phelps are paying wages and maintaining the trading business as a going concern.

“The administrators are paying wages to keep the branches functioning and sell them as a going concern,” CN was told by a WTB Group employee.

“The business is being sold, so that’s where the focus of the administrators is really.”

They added that sales talks are with both “local names and big companies”.

Half of the business had already been sold to Wolseley before the administration, with the FTSE 100 plumbing supplier also taking the trading name of Burdens.

That £30m deal included 22 depots and 600 staff. They have stressed that it is business as usual for those depots.

It left WTB Group’s UK operations with 16 depots and 400 staff.

Three depots have since been sold by Duff and Phelps, including two to the Bradfords Group.

The administration came after losses in recent months and the firm’s inability to pay debts and secure credit. This was compounded by suppliers and customers moving over to Wolseley.

WT Burden was established in Birmingham in 1929 and supplies goods including civil engineering materials, geotechnical products and pressure pipeline products.

It posted turnover of £342m in 2011 and employed around 1,200 people at that time.

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