Design & Development

Anfield developer Buckingham Group files administration notice

Featured image credit:

Buckingham Group Contracting, the business leading the redevelopment of Liverpool FC’s Anfield stadium, has filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators due to losses on arena projects.

The group, which posted turnover of £700m in 2022, filed the notice yesterday (Aug 16) giving it 10 days to keep creditors at bay. It said it is exploring selling parts of its business, possibly within days, to keep afloat.

Buckingham said that while most areas of its business continue to perform strongly, this has been outweighed by “deep losses and interim cash deficits” incurred on its three major stadium and arena contracts, and a substantial earthworks contract. It said rapidly escalating contract losses and a sharp reduction in liquidity, together mean the company is unable to continue trading at this current time.

It has been reported that Buckingham incurred significant losses on its work delivering the Riverside stand at Fulham FC’s Craven Cottage. It is currently the main contractor on the expansion of Liverpool’s Anfield Road Stand, a project which was been delayed having been due to be completed ahead of the start of the 2023-24 season. The business is also leading on the construction of the Copr Bay project in Swansea which features a new 3,500-capacity arena.

Responding to the news, a Liverpool FC spokesperson said: “Buckingham Group has made us aware that it has filed for a notice of intention to appoint administrators. This filing does not impact the planned opening of the new Anfield Road Stand’s lower tier on Saturday for the match against Bournemouth.”

A Buckingham spokesperson said in a statement: “This situation on these four long-term major projects developed through a combination of unexpected impacts such as the extreme inflation linked to the Ukraine conflict and other challenges in the sports and leisure division.”

Buckingham added that the board has worked with specialist advisors over recent months to seek to bring substantial new investment into the business that would have enabled the company to continue trading as a going concern without interruption.

Failure to find new investment has now led to the board filing a notice of intention to appoint administrators to protect the business while it explores a sale of all or part of the business within days or weeks.

“We will be liaising with clients and interested parties to optimise any solution and secure the best outcome for creditors,” it added.

“We emphasise the company is currently not in administration. Our main aim at present is to seek to protect jobs, and to preserve as much of the business as possible.”

The move follows a main board shake-up just two weeks ago after group managing director Ian McSeveney tendered his resignation for long-term health reasons after 17 years with the business.

In an update concerning the Anfield Road development, Liverpool today said that following successful test events earlier this week, Liverpool City Council’s building control team issued a safety certificate to operate the lower tier of the stand for this weekend’s first Premier League home game of the season.

Liverpool FC added: “We will work with Buckingham Group on the planned phased opening of the remainder of the new stand and will continue to keep supporters updated on arrangements for future games.”

In last reported accounts for 2021, the firm suffered a near £11m pre-tax loss after taking a big hit on a major stadium job, believed to be Fulham FC’s Craven Cottage Riverside stand. It was awarded the Anfield contract in 2021.

Buckingham’s projects within the stadium sector include Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Brentford FC’s Gtech Stadium and Brighton’s Amex Stadium.