Deal saves paper distributor jobs

NewspapersA haulage company which transports huge paper reels for many of the UK's newspapers has been bought out of administration, saving 180 jobs.

Paper distributor C&H (Hauliers) was sold to logistics group CM Downton for an undisclosed sum, administrators FRP Advisory said.

C&H's 126-year-old parent company Charles Gee called in administrators last week after suffering "acute cashflow pressures" following a deterioration in trading.

FRP warned there are likely to be redundancies among Charles Gee's 70 remaining staff, who are based across the country and serve large UK and European industrial and support services firms.
FRP said it is trying to find buyers for the rest of the group, but "overall trading conditions for logistics firms remain challenging".

Downton will take over C&H's 130 tractor units and 250 trailers, which deliver more than 2.2 million tonnes of forest products annually, serving many of the UK's local and national newspaper groups.

FRP said C&H, which was founded in east London in 1960, continued as a going concern during the administration with the support of its customers.

It has depots in Tilbury in Essex, Chatham and Aylesford in Kent, Didcot in Oxfordshire, Kings Lynn in Norfolk and Felixstowe in Suffolk.

Joint administrator Phil Armstrong said: "We are delighted to have found a new home in CM Downton for the business of C&H, its staff and its array of loyal customers.

"We remain highly focused on working with the rest of the Charles Gee Group's customers and suppliers and in engaging with interested parties."

Gloucestershire-based Downton currently has 500 tractor units and 1,600 trailers based at 10 distribution hubs across the UK, employing almost 1,000 staff and supplying groups including department store chain John Lewis and Sainsbury's supermarkets.