KPMG handles biotech, poly manufacturer administrations

Big Four firm KPMG has taken on the administrations of two companies – a medical innovation start-up and an established polythene film manufacturer – which have both collapsed putting over 200 jobs at risk

Rick Harrison and David Costley-Wood from KPMG’s restructuring practice have been appointed joint administrators to Total Polyfilm Ltd.

Operating from two sites in Preston and Brighouse, the company manufactured polythene film for agricultural and industrial use, producing around 40,000 tonnes each year, generating circa £50m of annual revenues.

In 2016, the company suffered a serious fire at its Preston base, after which the site required a complete rebuild. Although the reinstated site did become fully operational, the company subsequently experienced the loss of certain key customers and a declining order book, which resulted in liquidity issues.

Following the appointment of the joint administrators, production ceased at both sites and the majority of the firm’s 206-strong workforce have been made redundant.

Rick Harrison, partner at KPMG and joint administrator said: ‘The directors of the business recently embarked on an accelerated sales process to bring further investment into the business. However, with the cash position of the company worsening rapidly, and despite a number of interested parties, a deal was unable to be concluded in the short timescales available.’

Steve Absolom and Will Wright from KPMG’s restructuring practice have been appointed joint administrators to Sphere Medical Ltd.

The pre-revenue medtech business has been trading since 2003 and has operations based in Cambridge and St. Asaph, North Wales.

The business sought to create biosensor technology to improve outcomes for critically ill patients. Its innovative product Proxima, which enabled near-continuous blood gas monitoring (as opposed to infrequent diagnostics) through a patient-connected, automated machine, was in the final phase of testing ahead of seeking regulatory approvals.

Following the appointment of the joint administrators, the majority of the 45-strong workforce of scientists, engineers and technicians were made redundant. 

Steve Absolom, partner at KPMG in the UK and joint administrator, said: ‘Sphere Medical has developed an innovative biosensor technology, but unfortunately, has run out of the funding required to enable the technology to achieve the necessary regulatory approvals for it to be commercially developed. 

‘An opportunity now exists for a new investor or partner to come forward and harness the potential of Proxima, as we put the technology and associated assets up for sale.’

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