Burall's workers in limbo
PUBLISHED: 13:28 28 July 2006 | UPDATED: 10:45 01 June 2010
A WISBECH company s free share scheme for its workers is in tatters and its pension fund, with a £10million deficit, is in disarray following the placing of two subsidiary companies into administration. Accountancy firm Grant Thornton is now poring over t
A WISBECH company's free share scheme for its workers is in tatters and its pension fund, with a £10million deficit, is in disarray following the placing of two subsidiary companies into administration.
Accountancy firm Grant Thornton is now poring over the books of the Burall Group - where employees own or control more than half the shares - and arranging for it to be broken up and sold.
The specialist print company, built up by David Burall and effectively sold to his employees in the 1990s when he wanted to retire, has been in financial difficulties for some time and earlier this year posted a £1.7million loss.
Its present cash crisis stems partly from the growing deficit in its pension fund and partly from increased competition.
Burall Floraprint Ltd, which produces labels for the horticulture sector and employs 30 workers, was in administration before being sold two weeks ago to an overseas business.
Sister company Burall Ltd, which employs 60 staff, was also placed into administration, with Grant Thornton hopeful of finding a buyer for the specialist printing business, the main customer of which is Burall Floraprint.
Grant Thornton is also advising directors of the other Burall business, Burall InfoSmart Ltd, which develops smart card and data capture systems, and has not been placed into administration.
That business is trading profitably and it is hoped a buyer can also be found for this company, which employs 60 workers.
The break-up of the Burall Group began last September when it sold its reel-fed self-adhesive labels business to Paragon Labels, with the majority of the proceeds used to reduce company borrowing.
Ian Carr, partner with Grant Thornton, said: "Two of the three trading companies have been placed into administration. Burall Floraprint was sold a couple of weeks ago and we are hopeful that we can find a buyer for Burall Limited. We are some way down the road but a deal is not yet signed.