Business

Aylesford Newsprint to enter administration

Recycled newsprint manufacturer Aylesford Newsprint has announced that it is applying to go into administration.

The Kent-based company, which has been running since 1922, produces around 400,000 tonnes of recycled newsprint every year from 500,000 tonnes of recycled waste fibre. 

Although details are yet to be announced, an Aylesford spokesperson said this morning (23 February) that its 300-strong workforce had been told that the company would be making an application to the courts to go into administration. This is expected to go to court later today.

It is not yet known how the decision may affect jobs.

Accountancy firm KPMG is expected to be appointed as administrator, as it has been advising the company on its finances in recent months.

An industry insider told Resource that he thought that the demise of the company was down to ongoing challenges to secure high-quality feedstock, as well as the company’s equipment being old and less efficient than some of its competitors.

‘Dreadful news’

The paper company has been hard hit by the downturn in the economy and the reduction of paper consumption in the UK.

In 2012, private equity company The Martland Holdings LLC acquired the loss-making paper company, and in August 2014 its Managing Director Ian Broxup left the company after 18 years as part of a ‘business restructure’, with Executive Director of The Martland Holdings, Landry Kouakou, taking over day-to-day control as Chief Exectuive Officer.

Local politicians have taken to social media site Twitter to express their shock and regret at the news, with Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch saying: ‘Dreadful news about Aylesford Newsprint seeking administration. I will be doing all I can to support company, 300+ employees & customers.’

She later issued the following statement: ‘Today’s news that Aylesford Newsprint has gone into administration is absolutely devastating for the local area and the 300 employees at the site, which has been an important part of our local community for nearly 100 years.

‘It is unclear at the moment what the implications are for Aylesford Newsprint’s customers and those associated with the site, including the local authorities who use the site for recycling purposes.

‘While I am aware of the challenging environment the industry faces with the decline of newspaper readership and the cost of paper, I will be meeting with the Minister at the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills tonight to see what support if any can be given. I will be doing absolutely all I can for those affected by this devastating news.’

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