Sheffield firms sell off leading joinery business

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Two Sheffield firms are seeking to sell the assets of the UK’s largest independent window and door manufacturer after attempts to save it failed.

John Russell and Chris White from business turnaround and insolvency specialist the P&A Partnership announced the closure of Keighley-based Oakworth Joinery after being unable to secure trading terms with major customer who accounted for almost 75 per cent of the firm’s orders.

Now the Queen Street firm has called in Sheffield-based asset valuation specialist Charterfields to advise on the asset sale.

Joint administrator John Russell said Oakworth, which was established in Keighley in 1965, employed 170 people and was the town’s second largest employer, had been making loses and suffering from declining orders for some time.

“It is a huge blow to the workforce – many of whom have worked for Oakworth for a number of years,” said Mr Russell.

“We will be on site assisting staff with claim forms for redundancy payments and other entitlements. Also, we have a special website where we will post up to date information and advice for staff.”

David Smith, director of Charterfields, said: “It is sad to see the closure of a long-established firm like Oakworth and the loss of so many jobs. The task now is to co-ordinate an orderly closure and realisation of the assets, for the benefit of the creditors.”

Oakworth’s assets include a wide range of woodworking, plant and equipment, including a recently installed, state-of-the-art, paint plant, together with a wide range of stocks, consumables and product designs.

The P&A Partnership has saved 245 jobs by selling the UGO discount store group to the Poundstretcher chain in a pre-pack deal.

Joint administrator Gareth Rusling said: “This was a particularly complex deal and we focused in our negotiations on transferring over the employees.

“We are pleased that we have been able to rescue the business and save so many jobs, particularly given the tough economic climate for the retail sector. Poundstretcher is a strong brand with a growing High Street presence.”

The UGO stores opened last January in former Netto premises and had 20 stores across the North of England and East Midlands, including stores in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Retford.

Fourteen jobs have been created in Sheffield by the opening of a new bakery that sells products ranging from large loaves to sandwiches for £1.

The Poundbakery shop on The Moor is the 51st to be opened in just over 12 months by the group, which says more than a million customers come through its stores’ doors each month.

Area manager Janet Waddicor said the company had been overwhelmed by the response from people looking for jobs.