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30 jobs axed as Heathrow Airports Shropshire-based fencing company collapses

Telford | News | Published:

More than 30 jobs have been lost at an international fencing manufacturer that supplied Heathrow Airport.

A glut in the supply of mesh fencing on the continent has been blamed for the collapse of Telford-based Citadel Security Products Ltd.

The plant, in Halesfield, made fencing, handrails and gates. It also designed and produced architectural metal work and multi-use games areas.

But in the recent years the company's turnover dipped from £6.6 million to £5.2 million with overheads remaining the same.

And efforts by the directors to turnaround its fortunes with a recovery plan failed.

The sign at the front of the premises has been removed and yesterday people were still working at the building, which is not owned by Citadel, but a director.

Graham Wolloff and Nigel Price, of Elwell Watchorn & Saxton, were appointed joint administrators on 7 February.

Mr Wolloff said: "The company was just in a competitive market where there's pressure on margins and it's reported that there is an over-supply of mesh fencing manufactured in Europe. It therefore appears that the company had been suffering from diminishing turnover over the last three years, but without being able to reduce its overhead levels. They had brought in new people and obtained debtor financing as part of a turnaround plan, but that didn't work and they gradually ran out of cash.

"By the time that we were called in to advise, there was insufficient cash to pay all of the wages and salaries and some 32 redundancies were made over an eight-day period leading up to the formal administration appointment. The directors are involved in other businesses and may be able to offer to take on some of the ex-employees. The premises are not owned by the company but by one of the directors so it's likely that they will come onto the market in due course."

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The company's security fencing products were exported to a number countries and it had an environmental division in a range of specialist fields, including anaerobic digestion, water treatment and effluent clean-up.

In 2013 it was rebranded as Citadel Industries with 50 employees at its Telford site. It also bought out Sheffield-based specialist manufacturer Dryad.

Customers included RAF Greenham Common Cruise Missile Site, Heathrow Airport, GCHQ, and Chernobyl in Ukraine.

A worker, from a neighbouring plant, said: "One set of the Citadel gates have been shut for a few days now. I did notice a lot of activity in the yard last week and I was wondering whether they were moving premises. Not much seems to be going on at the moment."

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