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Administrators called in by MPG in wake of axing staff

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: June 28, 2013

By Catherine Barnes

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A cashflow-stricken book printing company has collapsed into administration in the wake of axing 60 jobs in Bodmin.

It has been confirmed that MPG Printgroup made 267 workers redundant across its three UK facilities, ahead of appointing administrators this week.

Former staff said they were told on May 15 not to turn up for work at the Bodmin plant the following day.

Reports later emerged that managing director Mike Chard had written to inform employees that MPG Printgroup was unable to pay employees wages beyond May 31.

MPG's management team had mounted a rescue bid to safeguard the company's core business operations by coming to terms with creditors, after cash-flow problems arose from its ambitious expansion plans.

But the rescue-plan failed and David Gilbert and Simon Girling of BDO LLP were this week appointed joint administrators to sell off the company's assets.

Mr Girling said: "Regrettably, it has not been possible for MPG Printgroup to avoid administration, nor to preserve the business as a going concern.

"Our objective as administrators will be to secure sales of its state-of-the-art printing equipment, ideally in-situ, and to maximise recoveries for the company's creditors."

Industry bible PrintWeek reported yesterday how one print-sector leader described MPG's five-week delay in appointing administrators following its effective collapse as "the biggest cock-up since the Titanic went down."

Gerald White, managing director of book printer Berforts told the journal: "There are no customers left and no staff. If they'd tried to sell it in the first week, maybe they'd have had a chance."

In July 2012, MPG took over the UK print operations of the Cambridge University Press, creating a £28million turnover business.

Then in December, MPG announced that its Bodmin litho-print operations were set to be consolidated in Cambridge, in a move which halved its Cornwall workforce.

Former Bodmin employee Chris Wickett was one of those made redundant by move, after 35 years working for the business.

He said: "It was a huge mistake moving to Cambridge. But they wouldn't listen. At the end of the day Bodmin was a very profitable business up until the end of 2011."

Cambridge University Press is a separate business and is not in administration.

In a statement issued yesterday, it said that it had been confident when it transferred its print operations to MPG, that the move would secure the roles of skilled employees that otherwise faced redundancy.

It said: "Responsibility for the current financial crisis and the subsequent impact on staff lies with MPG."

However, CUP has established a hardship fund to support former Cambridge-based colleagues who transferred to MPG.

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