Sale of coal supplier Fergusson rescues 60-plus jobs

Fergusson Coal has been acquired by CPL Industries after falling into administration. Picture: Alan Watson

Fergusson Coal has been acquired by CPL Industries after falling into administration. Picture: Alan Watson

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Fergusson, the 90-year-old family coal merchants business based in Stirling, has been acquired by CPL Industries after problems with the group’s expansion into coal power generation plunged it into administration.

The acquisition of the coal supply assets from administrators KPMG protects 67 jobs across Fergusson’s eight depots in Scotland, three staff at a site in Larne, and nine staff at the wholesale business in Carlisle.

KPMG said that “unfortunately” the remainder of the Fergusson business, mainly focused on supplying power stations, has been closed with immediate effect, with the loss of 22 jobs, including 13 from the group’s main site at Hunterston in Ayrshire.

The other nine redundancies are at the Stirling HQ. Confirming the appointment of Blair Nimmo, Tony Friar and Neil Gostelow as joint administrators, KPMG said the business founded by Thomas Henry Fergusson in 1926 was one of the UK’s largest providers of coal to consumers, retailers and other coal merchants.

READ MORE: Longannet closure marks end of coal-fired power in Scotland

However, it addded that “having expanded into the coal power generation market, the rapid structural decline in coal’s share of UK electricity generation, the closure of Longannet power station, recent mild winters and volatility in the price of coal, have all severely impacted on Fergusson’s finances”.

Nimmo said: “It’s no secret coal power generation has been in long-term decline, so we are happy to have been able to secure a future for Fergusson Coal through its new owner, CPL. This will provide employment for 79 of the company’s staff and ensure that as we head into colder weather, there is no disruption of supply to those that need it the most.”

• Borders-based building and contracting business Murray & Burrell has gone into administration with the loss of 38 jobs.

Thomson Cooper said yesterday that partner Richard Gardiner had been appointed as administrator of the Galashiels-based firm, which was established in 1928. The directors explored all options to preserve trading and jobs.

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