Buckingham Group Contracting, the business leading the redevelopment of Liverpool’s Anfield stadium, has formally entered administration, resulting in hundreds of redundancies.
In a statement released yesterday (Monday), Buckingham confirmed that Rob Parker, Jon Roden and Kevin Coates of Grant Thornton UK had been appointed joint administrators of the company.
Buckingham last month filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators due to losses on venue projects. At the time, the company said it was exploring selling parts of its business to keep afloat.
Buckingham said the “legacy issues” faced by the company and ongoing losses were “simply too great” to enable the refinance to succeed in an acceptable timescale. The joint administrators have confirmed a sale of Buckingham’s rail division and HS2 contract to the Kier Group, which safeguards jobs for 180 people, but a sale of its remaining divisions has not been possible.
Parker said: “It is, however, with regret, that despite the best efforts of the directors and the company’s advisers, a sale of the company’s remaining divisions (building, civil engineering, demolition, major projects and sport & leisure) was not possible.
“As a result, 446 employees from these divisions together with some other central roles at the company have been made redundant following the company entering administration. The Grant Thornton team will work with the employees affected to support them through this process.”
Mike Kempley, chairman at Buckingham, added: “After 36 years of uninterrupted trading, this is an extremely sad day for all the exceptionally committed and talented people who have made Buckingham Group Contracting the business it is.
“In moving to Kier, we are sure our rail & HS2 teams are in good hands and will continue to deliver an excellent service, and many other businesses are now engaging with the remaining 500 or so Buckingham employees. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the client and supply chain businesses who have supported the company over many years.”
The development raises question marks regarding the ongoing Anfield project. After the announcement last month, Liverpool chief executive Billy Hogan admitted that the club was in a “holding pattern” when it comes to the Anfield Road Stand expansion.
Buckingham had been overseeing the £80m (€99.5m/$100.4m) expansion of the stand, which will add 7,000 seats to Anfield and increase the stadium’s overall capacity to 61,000. On July 26, Liverpool announced that Anfield would operate at a reduced capacity for the opening exchanges of the 2023-24 season due to delays in the delivery of the stand.
As a result, the new upper tier of the Anfield Road Stand was closed for Liverpool’s first two home matches of the season against Bournemouth and Aston Villa. Liverpool had said that the additional capacity would be incrementally phased in with a view to opening the new-look stand in October, but Buckingham’s administration could lead to delays.
Buckingham, which posted turnover of £700m in 2022, is also working on the ongoing redevelopment of Fulham’s Riverside Stand at Craven Cottage.