API Group enters admin as US parent pulls plug

API Group ran three bases in the UK
API Group ran three bases in the UK

API Group has gone into administration as its US parent company closed all of the foil and laminate manufacturer’s UK sites.

The company ran three operations in the UK – headquarters in Stockport, a second site in Sheffield and a third in Livingston near Edinburgh, which was closed on Friday (31 January), according to a report from Edinburgh Live.

In the report, one worker at the Livingston site attributed the closure, which sees 132 jobs lost, to Brexit and referred to German foil company Dunsmore, which US parent Steel Partners acquired in 2018, as a likely destination for any work to be diverted to.

The business lost two large contracts last year. 

In a statement, Steel Partners chief operating officer Bill Fejes said: “Since early 2019, we have been working with the API Group businesses to assist in managing significant adverse change within their industries and the loss of major customers.

“Importantly, we expect that all our other business units will continue to operate as normal and will not be adversely impacted by the transition of the API Group.”

Administration proceedings will be overseen in the UK by Ernst & Young (EY), with the intention to facilitate a sale or wind-down of the UK group’s limited companies including API Laminates Ltd and API Foils Holdings Ltd.

Printweek has requested comment from EY.

Neil Findlay, MSP for Lothian, condemned the closure at Livingston for leaving workers “high and dry” and not giving them a chance to clear their lockers. He told Edinburgh Live he had contacted Unite the Union and it is investigating the matter further.

API was until recently observed to be highly acquisitive and focused on investment, having acquired Dutch company Amsterdam Metallized Products and Hazen Paper Company’s satellite paperboard lamination business in Osgood, Indiana in 2016 as well as a £500,000 kit investment in 2017.

Around this time, the company turned over circa £121m from its Stockport headquarters. Its most recent accounts, up to 31 December 2018, reported an operating loss of £6.7m and 590 staff.