Bedfords truck

Bedfords Group has been placed into administration and has ceased trading.

Howard Smith and David Costley-Wood of KPMG were appointed to handle the insolvency of Bedfords Limited, which trades as Bedfords Group, on March 27.

A skeleton staff has been retained to assist the administrator with the insolvency process at its main site in Birstall, West Yorkshire.

The business also operated out of a head office in Morley, near Leeds.

Bedfords Limited is owned by SP & PL Holdings, which also controls LinQ Alliance and Milton Keynes-based RPL Transport.

LinQ Alliance is part of the insolvency process but RPL Transport, which Bedfords purchased in 2014, is not.

Bedfords Group employed 84 people according to KPMG.

In 2016, the Palletforce founding member promoted Lee Nichols to the role of MD as part of a succession and restructuring plan.

Read more

However, Bedfords’ losses deepened in its most recent accounting period, with a pre-tax loss of £653,837 in the year to 1 October 2017 (2016: loss of £221,415).

Turnover in the period was £18m compared with £19.4m a year earlier.

In the statement to the accounts, Nichols said that whilst the performance was disappointing at first sight, it masked significant progress made in diversifying its customer base, updating the fleet and reducing group overheads.

Bedfords, which was also a member of the Transport Association, specialised in transporting printed matter, printing materials, packaging, homeware, kitchen furniture and building and garden products.

Smith, associate partner at KPMG and joint administrator, said: “The company had recently experienced cash flow issues and had embarked on a process to seek new sources of investment into the business.

"Unfortunately, after a sale of one of its subsidiaries fell through, the directors were left with no alternative but to apply for the appointment of the joint administrators.

“Our immediate priority is to provide every available support to those members of staff who have been made redundant, including assisting them with claims to the Redundancy Payments Service.”

A spokesman for Palletforce said Bedfords' collection and delivery area would be covered by other network members in the interim to ensure continuity of service.