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Carter & Carter to call in administrators

Indebted training group Carter & Carter is entering administration today following unsuccessful talks with its bankers. The group, which operates 10,000 apprenticeships and training courses for numerous carmakers, announced this morning that its lenders have not agreed to its restructuring plan.

It had hoped to increase its borrowing to £175m this summer to give it operating cashflow while it turns the business around. It is already £129m in debt, and is subject to a financial investigation by its auditors.

As a result of the talks with HBOS, Barclays and Lloyds ending without success, said Carter & Carter, the group is unable to meet its cash needs in the short term, and the company has consequently instructed its lawyers to file a notice of intention to appoint administrators over the company.

Chairman Rodney Westhead told AM he expects Deloitte to be appointed administrator within 24 hours. Staff have been asked to continue teaching until further notice, although it is not clear whether there are funds to pay them.

Westhead added: "It's bitterly disappointing. Fundamentally the lenders thought that the ask of them in terms of money was too great a risk. We clearly thought it wasn't going that way. Talks had been progressing and progressing."

The group had cut its training and support staff by 300 to 400 people in the last six months, and Westhead said it was now at a position where its board had felt it could continue trading.

Westhead said the company will seek to work closely with the administrators, the Learning and Skills Council, and the Department for Work and Pensions to minimise the effect on learners, clients and employees.

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