Stewart Milne Group falls into administration with loss of 217 jobs
Aberdeen-based housebuilding firm Stewart Milne Group has collapsed into administration, with the immediate loss of 217 jobs.
Former Aberdeen FC chairman Stewart Milne, who founded the company in 1975, said it was "devastating" but added that the business had "no option".
Stewart Milne Group put its housebuilding business up for sale in April 2022 after Mr Milne decided to retire.
But financial advisory firm Teneo was appointed to the group on January 8th after a buyer could not be found.
Despite a number of "fruitful discussions" with potential bidders, the sale process was paused in December 2022 with the company highlighting the cost-of-living crisis and unsettled market conditions.
The sale resumed in July last year after the company delivered its best results for almost a decade but directors have now made the decision to put each of the Stewart Milne companies that operate active development sites in Scotland into administration.
The move comes after SCN reported that Stewart Milne Homes North West England, the English division of the housebuilder, filed a notice of intention to appoint an administrator.
The firms in administration also include Stewart Milne Homes Central Scotland Limited, Stewart Milne Central Scotland (Developments) Limited, Stewart Milne (Arbroath) Limited, Stewart Milne Homes (Auchterarder) Limited and Stewart Milne Homes (Kirkton) Limited.
The group has faced "significant challenges" in recent years, with financial uncertainty related to rising interest rates, cost pressure increases and a reduction in consumer confidence being cited.
Founder Stewart Milne said it was "devastating" that the business was faced with "no option" but to appoint administrators.
He told the Press & Journal: "I am devastated by this totally unexpected outcome of the sale process and struggling to accept it, given the profound impact it will have on employees, sub-contractors, suppliers and customers.
"Stewart Milne Group was up for sale and, following significant interest, two bids were submitted. The bank has not accepted either bid and withdrawn its funding which left the directors with no option but to appoint administrators.
"I tried everything I could to find a way to achieve a better outcome for the business and the people who depend on it. I believe one of the bids could have delivered a comparable, financial return to administration and, crucially, allowed the business to continue to operate, safeguarding hundreds of jobs and protecting livelihoods."
The administrators said they are in communication with all employees affected by redundancy and are "working closely with the Redundancy Payments Service to support employees in recovering any statutory entitlements to which they may be entitled".
Teneo stated: "Stewart Milne is an independent housebuilder, operating development sites across the North East of Scotland, Central Scotland and North West England. Like many in the housebuilding sector, Stewart Milne has faced significant challenges over the last few years, with economic uncertainty due to rising interest rates, increasing cost pressure and an associated reduction in consumer confidence.
The directors have explored multiple options to secure the future of the business, including running sale processes, most recently from May 2023. Unfortunately, this did not result in a transaction and other options to restructure the Group were ultimately not viable. The directors therefore took the difficult decision to place certain group companies into administration, including each of the Stewart Milne companies that operate active development sites in Scotland."
It added: "Following their appointment, the joint administrators will focus on realising the group's assets and pursuing an orderly wind down of the business retaining 54 employees to assist with managing this process. An additional 58 employees aligned with the operations of Stewart Milne Homes North West England (Developments) Limited have been retained.
"Regretfully, this means that 217 roles were made redundant shortly following the Administrators' appointment. The administrators are communicating with all employees affected and working closely with the Redundancy Payments Service to support employees in recovering any statutory entitlements to which they may be entitled."
Adele Macleod of Teneo said: "The downturn in the UK housing market combined with an extensive sales process not resulting in any viable offers has ultimately led to the need for the directors to place Stewart Milne Group Limited and some of its subsidiaries into administration, regretfully with some immediate redundancies.
"We continue to assess all the options in respect of the group's Scottish development sites and encourage any party with an interest to get in touch."
Teneo has Scottish offices based in Edinburgh and Glasgow, which can be reached by calling 0131 619 2300 or 0141 619 1600 respectively.