49 jobs lost in Bowman collapse in Stamford

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FORTY-nine jobs have been lost at a well-known building firm after it announced its intention to appoint administrators.

Staff and creditors of Bowman, of Cherryholt Road, Stamford, have been left reeling after it was revealed the firm had submitted a Notice of Intention to Appoint Administrators at Court.

Insolvency practitioners FRP Advisory confirmed on Wednesday that only a skeletal staff remains at the stricken firm.

Bowman’s directors had tried and failed to restructure the company through a Company Voluntary Agreement. It is now expected that Evolution Business Recovery Services will be appointed with FRP as joint administrators.

An FRP spokesman said: “The directors of Bowman had sought to restructure the company through a Company Voluntary Arrangement, however, the implementation of a CVA is no longer achievable.

“To protect the company while options are considered, the directors have submitted a Notice of Intention to Appoint Administrators at Court.

“It is anticipated that Chris Stirland, a partner at FRP Advisory and David Broadbent, director at Evolution Business Recovery Services, will be appointed as joint administrators in due course. FRP Advisory and Evolution Business Recovery Services are currently advising the business.

“We can confirm that unfortunately 49 members of staff have been made redundant and only a skeletal staff remains in place.”

Bowman, which was established in 1886 and was previously known as E Bowman and Sons, underwent a rebranding last year.

James Deacon was appointed as managing director and the company won contracts for work on a number of historic buildings, including the refurbishment of Stamford Library.

The company is tied to the history of Stamford and has worked on many of the town’s listed buildings during its 125-year lifetime, such as the spire and tower of St Mary’s Church in 1912.

The news of Bowman’s collapse came as a shock to many of the companies owed money by the firm.

A spokesman from one of the creditors, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “It has come as a surprise. There had been rumours that things were amiss. People were speculating that there was something not quite right, which has proved to be the case.

“There started to be doubts raised about their situation. But the managing director was giving assurances that everything was fine.

“It is a well-established company but it had a complete makeover and change of managing director last year. They seemed to be completely revamping the company and taking it forward.

“It was giving all its suppliers and subcontractors assurances it was going forward and everything was fine. We did credit checks and on the face of it they seemed okay.”

The spokesman said Bowman going under was a blow in the current economic climate.

He added: “From our point of view it is a serious setback. Given the fact that the current market conditions are extremely competitive anyway and profits are very hard to come by, to not be paid for work you have done just makes a difficult market situation even worse.

“It’s a reflection of the way the market is. Getting paid your due and on time is becoming a major problem for subcontractors and suppliers. Work is scarce and margins are virtually non-existent.”

President of Stamford Chamber of Trade and Commerce Tim Lee said: “We are shocked and disappointed. It is very sad because they are one of our oldest members and are very much associated with Stamford.

“But perhaps they will come out of it and become a phoenix company.”

A creditors’ meeting will take place at the Great Northern Hotel in Peterborough at 10am on Tuesday, followed by a shareholders’ meeting at 10.30am.