South Yorkshire firms struggling after £11m MTL administration write off

Nick Clegg, tours the MTL factory in November with the then managing director Dr Henry Shirman.
Nick Clegg, tours the MTL factory in November with the then managing director Dr Henry Shirman.
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A South Yorkshire manufacturing boss says his business is still “on the brink” after MTL Group went under owing £26m.

His firm was due more than £100,000 when the Rotherham engineering company collapsed into administration in February, with the loss of 157 jobs.

The boss, who asked not to be named, said he was working seven days a week, 18 hours a day, in a bid to stave off redundancies and keep the 20-strong firm afloat.

He was one of 250 creditors owed a total of £26m - including scores of unsecured trade creditors who have had to write off almost £11m.

He said: “We are still fighting every single day to get over this - we have to think hard about spending £50.

“Our suppliers have been very understanding and the banks have extended our overdraft. We will survive this by hook or by crook, but it has set us back 10 years. We were going to have a £250,000 extension this year and hire 10 people.

“I’m focused on avoiding redundancies but MTL’s recent success is rubbing our noses in it. The administration has done a lot of businesses around here a lot of damage.”

Chris Brown, of Hart Shaw accountants, said he’d helped an MTL supplier renegotiate payment of a £40,000 VAT bill and extra cash from its bank to keep trading.

A Sheffield steel stockholder said it was just luck they were not owed up to £120,000, credit terms they regularly extended to MTL.

He added: “They were extremely good payers, we never had to chase.”

A report filed at Companies House shows Tata Steel - which last week announced up to 720 redundancies - was owed £1m.

It also revealed MTL Group turnover fell £11m between 2011 and 2014 and it incurred losses of £3.33m in the first eight months of 2014.

Nick Clegg, the then leader of the Lib Dems, toured the factory in November 2014 to highlight its export success. At the time, managing director Dr Henry Shirman said it had built export sales from “very little” in 2006 to 40 per cent.

He said then: “We put a lot of effort and investment into travelling worldwide and we now export to 40 countries.”

MTL, which trades from a 30-acre site on Grange Lane, Brinsworth, was snapped up by Lancashire-based WEC Group, saving 135 jobs.

Now called MTL Advanced, bosses say it is back in the black, has clinched a £3m contract and is set for a £1m investment.