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North east’s largest builders’ merchant bid to enter CVA 1 March 2013

Sunderland based builder’s merchant, A. Thompson, is struggling to keep afloat after two years of declining sales. After appointing accountancy firm RSM Tenon to deal with its financial affairs back in February of this year, management at A Thompson are now seriously considering whether to enter a Company Voluntary Arrangement to help resolve the financial difficulties.

Three of A. Thompson’s 10 shops in and around the Sunderland area have been forced to close in recent months, yet it is not clear how many of the 100 plus staff have been made redundant.

The difficulties experienced by the company are not unique to A. Thompson. In fact, several building firms in the north east fell victim to the UK’s economic crisis in recent years, whilst A. Thompson appeared to be performing particularly well.

In 2011, revenues increased in the region of 20%, from £13.8m to £16.6m and a plan for growth was implemented after raising £3m of funding through a deal with Bibby Financial Services. An influx of new customers and expansion of the workforce from 85 to 110, all contribute to this ‘rosey’ image of what appeared to be a booming business.

Back in 2011, Managing Director if A. Thompson, Ann Ganley, spoke of the state of the business last year:

“Business has been steady, but there are signs things are getting better and we are seeing a lot more confidence in the industry.“

However, mounting debts are being called in by creditors, leaving company directors with no option but to explore all possible solutions to keep the business above water.

Ganley added:

“The directors feel that the company is better placed to cope with these difficult trading conditions than many of its competitors as the company has little exposure to major contract building or house-building.”

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