KPMG to handle administration at John M. Henderson

A calculator, pen, and financial statement.
A calculator, pen, and financial statement.

Financial firm KPMG was appointed last week to handle the administration of Arbroath engineering firm John M. Henderson & Co.

Blair Nimmo and Geoff Jacobs of KPMG LLP were appointed as Joint Administrators of John M. Henderson & Co. Limited (JMH) and John M. Henderson & Co (Holdings) Limited (the Group) on Friday, October 24, at the request of the Group.

JMH is a long-established engineering, manufacturing and installation company, best known for its expertise regarding coke oven machinery for the steel industry.

JMH also provides fabrication services for the oil and gas industry.

The business was incorporated in 1924 with pre-incorporation trading dating back to 1866. The Group operates from its freehold premises in Arbroath and at the time of appointment, the Group had 95 employees.

A downturn in the Group’s key markets led to reductions in orders being obtained culminating in a significant reduction in turnover over a prolonged period. This, combined with difficulties being experienced on large contracts, has resulted in further losses being incurred which in turn have led to considerable cash flow pressure for the Group.

The directors proactively implemented a number of restructurings - both financial and operational - which involved additional share capital being injected. Unfortunately, despite these actions, losses continued to ensue which led to the directors concluding that they had no option other than to seek the appointment of administrators.

At the time of appointment, there was minimal work in progress with operations having wound down considerably. In the absence of ongoing work, regrettably, the Joint Administrators had no option other than to make 89 of the Group’s 95 employees redundant with immediate effect.

The remaining six employees have been retained to assist the Joint Administrators to realise the Group’s assets and to complete certain orders.

The Joint Administrators are assessing all available options to complete the Group’s remaining work in progress and to rapidly explore whether an early sale of its business, infrastructure, and assets can be secured.

Blair Nimmo, Joint Administrator and Head of Restructuring for KPMG in Scotland, said: “John M. Henderson is a leading name in the engineering and manufacture of coke oven machinery with a rich heritage dating back almost 150 years. It is clearly disappointing that a long-established company has suffered due to global demand and competition requiring it to cease trading.

“We will do everything we can to seek a buyer who may be able to protect the business and which would maximise recoveries for creditors whilst also helping to maximise opportunities for the workforce.

“The Group has a significant infrastructure comprising a large property together with heavy engineering machinery, an order book, customer base and intellectual property. We would encourage any party who has an interest in acquiring the Group’s business and facilities to contact us as soon as possible.

“We will be working with the employees and the relevant government agencies to ensure that the full range of support is available to all those affected. We would like to thank the remaining staff for their co-operation during this difficult period.”

Anyone with an interest in buying the business and assets of the Group should contact Geoff Jacobs on 01224 416895 or in writing at the address below.

KPMG LLP, 37 Albyn Place, Aberdeen, AB10 1JB.