Hope yet for insolvent firmto bring jobs back
PUBLISHED: 13:30 08 August 2014
'NUMEROUS parties' are interested in taking over Highbridge furniture company Woodberry Brothers, barely a month after the firm entered administration.
On July 2, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was appointed as administrators for the business, with 163 of 175 employees losing their jobs after a winding up petition was issued against the company in June.
Burnham and Highbridge town councillor Chris Williams hailed the news as ‘very pleasing’ and a ‘leg up for employment’, with the prospect of new jobs following any potential takeover.
Woodberry Brothers, based on the Walrow Industrial Estate in Commerce Way, has been in Highbridge since 1949, and despite financial issues maintained an annual turnover of £10million.
A spokesman for PwC said: “Since appointment the administrators have worked hard with the support of certain key customers and suppliers to fulfil some outstanding orders from finished goods stock using the few remaining employees.
“This has been done to enable discussions to take place with parties who have expressed an interest in acquiring the business and assets, which have been numerous.
“So far, despite the interest shown, no investment into, or sale of the business, has been concluded.”
Cllr Williams said bringing new year-round employment in the town is ‘very important’, especially as more jobs will be lost in Highbridge when the Morland Industrial Estate shuts on September 28.
He said: “It’s very pleasing to see there are firms interested. It gives Highbridge a big leg up in employment terms. With Morland closing that will also affect a lot of people and it’ll be approaching 300 between these two sites when that happens.
“A lot of the jobs in the Burnham area are seasonal, so anything like this which has the potential to put more year-round employment into the town is crucial.”