Fear for jobs as no buyer found for McArdle; employees complain about being kept in the dark
Uncertainty is growing over the future of Colnbrook based McArdle as reports of asset stripping reach Colnbrook Views. Despite initial optimism of a sale as a going concern there is now a real fear that all jobs will be lost.
No buyer has been found for the construction company founded 40 years ago and sold for a reputed £40 million in 2008.
Plant and machinery has been returning en masse to the headquarters site, adjacent to Mill Street. Sources acquainted with McArdle have suggested so much has already been sold by administrators that it may no longer be a going concern.
Disgruntled employees have complained about being kept in the dark.
Rumours that founder Jim McArdle, now 72, may be planning to buy back the company appear to have little foundation. There is speculation now that the company will be wound down once its current commitments are complete with fears for the loss of all employment.
2011 accounts show that it had 153 employees – 115 in construction and 38 in management and administration. Some newspapers have suggested that as many as 300 may be on the company’s payroll.
A bad debt is understood to be the trigger for the company’s sharp deterioration, despite a reported 72% sales growth in 2011 and gross profit of £6.53m (10%).
McArdle grew rapidly over the last ten years, benefitting from government expenditure on infrastructure projects including the M25 widening, and the Olympics. In 2003 it moved to its current location in Colnbrook, having purchased a sizeable chunk of land from then struggling Tanhouse Farm. It reached a deal with Slough Borough Council on a controversial new head office, workshop, and access road over Green Belt.
Among McArdle’s live contracts are the M25 managed motorway scheme between junctions 5 and 7, a section currently awash with cones and excavators.
Administrators from PwC have been running the firm since they were called in on April 22. They anticipated selling the company intact and gave themselves 2 weeks to find a buyer.
Attention is now turning to who may buy the site – in a most sought after location off the Colnbrook By-Pass, and directly opposite Goodman’s SIFE site.
The proximity to residential properties, broken planning conditions, and unresolved disputes over expansion onto Green Belt in recent years are at the forefront of residents’ minds.