Administrators take charge at YM web plants

Jo Francis
Thursday, March 31, 2022

YM Group’s plans to be a dominant player in UK web offset have collapsed into chaos, with FRP Advisory appointed as the administrator of the group's three web division businesses, and staff left unpaid.

YM Group: bosses slammed for "disgraceful behaviour"
YM Group: bosses slammed for "disgraceful behaviour"

FRP was appointed at YM Chantry, York Mailing, and Pindar Scarborough today (31 March). 

Around 600 jobs are on the line at the factories, based on YM’s most recent accounts, for the year ending 31 May 2020. 

This morning, Unite regional officer Darren Rushworth told Printweek: “Administrators are at every site and they have confirmed that workers will be made redundant in the next 30 minutes, with the exception of a few people kept on to help them realise the assets.

“What I want to know is why staff were promised they would be paid, and why they encouraged people to do overtime. Why did the directors do this? It’s absolutely disgraceful behaviour.”

Sources told Printweek that some employees had received payslips, but the money had not reached their bank accounts at the time of writing. 

One worker at the York Mailing said: “Nobody’s been paid. Staff were still working last night in the hope it would go through today. 

“At 9am today they downed tools because they haven’t been paid. Management have abandoned the site.”

YM Group CEO Stephen Goodman had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing. 

It's not clear why Pricoa, the financial backer of the near-£115m turnover group, has decided not to provide it with further funding. 

Access to York Mailing is still being blocked by pallet supplier Showcase Pallets, although employee vehicles are being allowed to pass.

Another long-standing employee at the site told Printweek: “They have treated us like shit and haven’t told us anything. I’ve never seen anything like it, it’s disgusting. None of us can believe what’s happening.”

Sources said that staff there now plan to mount a picket of their own at Lettershop to “stop anything going in or out, as there’s £1.2m worth of stock inside”.

Separately, another source said a YM creditor had blocked access to the Lettershop factory in Leeds.

Lettershop was not included in the failed fast-track sale process and is not part of the administration. The business is the group’s smallest operation with sales of £19.7m in its most recent accounts and an operating profit of £214,645. It specialises in complex DM products and paper-based packaging for e-commerce. 

At the web offset sites now in administration, in the financial year to 31 May 2020 Pindar had sales of £55.3m and made an operating profit prior to exceptionals of £613k. The site employed 274 people. 

YM Chantry employed 236 at the time, and made an operating loss of £1.9m on sales of £26.8m.

York Mailing had sales of just over £26m, and made an operating profit of £2m, with 108 staff. 

Major publishing clients have been scrambling to find alternative printing arrangements since the extent of the group's problems became clear last week

UPDATE: FRP Advisory has now issued a statement regarding its appointment

The business advisory firm confirmed that partners Phil Pierce and Philip Watkins were appointed today (31 March) as joint administrators at York Mailing Ltd, YM Chantry Ltd and Pindar (Scarborough) Ltd.

FRP said the appointment followed “a significant period of challenging trading that had been exacerbated by the impact of the pandemic and rising input prices. The companies had been subject to an accelerated marketing process in recent weeks to secure a buyer.

“However, without the prospect of investment or a sale, the companies have ceased to operate and the majority of 512 staff have been made redundant. A small number of staff have been retained to assist the Joint Administrators in their duties.”

The Joint Administrators will now make asset disposals “while supporting impacted staff in making claims to the Redundancy Payments Services”.

Pierce commented: “This has been an incredibly challenging period for the printing sector and York Mailing, YM Chantry and Pindar are no longer able to continue trading. Regrettably, the insolvency has led to redundancies at what we know will be an extremely difficult time. We will work with staff to access redundancy support.”

 

 

 

 

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