Dozens of NI jobs go with collapse of P&H

The demise of Palmer & Harvey (P&H), the UK’s largest delivered wholesaler, has left around 30 people in Northern Ireland without a job.

A total of around 2,500 workers across the UK lost their jobs when the firm went into administration this week.

A further 17 people are still employed by P&H in Northern Ireland but they are likely also to be made redundant when the company shuts its doors.

All 47 employees worked at the company’s Mallusk depot, making deliveries to convenience stores and supermarkets around the country.

PwC has been appointed administrator to the struggling company, which has about 90,000 retail customers of all sizes across the UK. In a statement, the accountancy firm said that P&H had been hit by “challenging trading conditions in recent months” and that efforts to restructure the company had ultimately been unsuccessful.

Joint administrator and PwC partner, Matthew Callaghan said that the announcement was a “devastating blow” for everyone involved and added that the administration team would focus on working with employees, clients and suppliers to facilitate a smooth winding down or transfer of operations.

“The P&H Group has faced a challenging trading environment and the need for significant restructuring has been recognised for some time,” remarked Mr Callaghan. “The company has insufficient cash resources to continue to trade beyond the short term and the directors have concluded that there is no longer any reasonable prospect of a sale.”

Mr Callaghan said that the administrators would be working to support staff affected by the closure to ensure that all those made redundant receive help to process their claims.

The wholesaler had been in rescue talks with private equity firm, the Carlyle Group, for weeks but the discussions ultimately came to nothing.

P&H is the largest supplier of cigarettes in the UK and following news of the collapse this week, Japan Tobacco International (JTI) said that it had been working for some time to facilitate a constructive solution to the P&H Group’s difficulties.

“Regrettably our considerable efforts were not successful,” it added “We have a contingency plan in place and we do not expect any significant interruption in the supply of our products.”


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