Closure announcement 'came out of blue' says shocked Doncaster factory worker

A worker at a long-established Doncaster factory which has made scores of employees redundant after going into administration said the announcement “came out of the blue.”
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Bawtry Carbon, which has been operating in Doncaster for more than 50 years, has called in the administrators, blaming the company’s collapse on tough economic trading conditions, the war in Ukraine and the Covid pandemic.

Bosses announced that the majority of the firm’s 103 staff would be made redundant.

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A worker at the factory, which is based in Austerfield and which makes equipment for the aluminium industry, said employees had been left in shock by the news.

Bawtry Carbon, which has been operating in Doncaster for more than 50 years, has gone into administration.Bawtry Carbon, which has been operating in Doncaster for more than 50 years, has gone into administration.
Bawtry Carbon, which has been operating in Doncaster for more than 50 years, has gone into administration.

The worker, who asked not to be named, said: “There was a meeting at 2pm and the factory was closed, out of the blue.

"There had been problems though and the lack of money was obvious.”

Administrators have now been appointed at the company which manufactures and supplies of carbon cathode blocks for the second time in five years.

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A spokesman for administrators Grant Thornton said: “The company has suffered significant financial challenges in recent years through exposure to unfavourable economic conditions resulting from COVID-19, the conflict in Ukraine, and raw material and energy cost inflations.

“All these, in turn, have created internal pressure on the company’s cash flow.

“In response to these challenges, the directors sought to undertake a review of operations and explored options for the sale of the business and assets. However, due to continued strain on cash flows during this process, the sale was unsuccessful, and the directors resolved to place the company into administration.

“The administrators are exploring options on next steps, working closely with clients and creditors to preserve and maximise value in the work in progress.

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Joint administrator Chris Petts commented: “Despite the company’s niche manufacturing presence within the EU and strong customer relationships, the severe impact of recent external pressures combined with the credit failure of a key customer meant that it was not in a financial position to continue trading.

"We have had to make the difficult decision to wind down operations whilst the next options are explored, regrettably meaning the majority of the 103 workforce have been made redundant.

"Our immediate priority is to provide support to all the employees impacted by the administration and are providing support for affected staff in making applications to the Redundancy Payments Service.

"We will continue to update all stakeholders regularly while this process unfolds.”

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Bawtry Carbon had been backed by Enact, a private equity fund, since 2019 after initally going into administration.

Chris Cormack, partner in Enact, Bawtry Carbon’s majority shareholder, said: “We are naturally disappointed not to have led an ultimately successful turnaround of Bawtry Carbon, which we backed through a management buy out in 2019.

“Over the last four years and through our period of investment, we have been very supportive of the business committing significant capital on acquisition of the business in 2019, and injecting further capital in 2023.

"However, the macroeconomic events of COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine have been felt throughout the aluminium smelting industry both by the company and its customer base.

"The credit downgrade of its largest customer has ultimately made it impossible to continue as a going concern.”