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Airdrie firm in administration

342 jobs lost as TOM van rental firm shuts down

Tom Group

Tom Group: considerable trading difficulties

More than 340 workers at Airdrie-based firm TOM Vehicle Rental have been made redundant after it fell into administration and ceased trading.

Staff at the company were told this morning that the 27-year-old firm was shutting, just 15 months after Equistone Partners Europe took a majority stake.

TOM – which employs more than 500 people across 10 depots nationwide – was founded as a single site providing MOTs back in 1991 and hires out commercial vans, cars, trucks and trailers to public and private customers.

Just two years ago, the firm was named one of the 1,000 fastest-growing companies in Britain and founder, Jim Rafferty, was shortlisted for an entrepreneurship award.

TOM, which provides long-term rentals of vans, trucks, trailers and cars, also operates franchised dealerships under the Mercedes Benz and Citroen brands.

There had been speculation about the company’s future earlier this week and today administrators at EY confirmed the group had faced “challenging trading conditions” in recent months.

EY said considerable efforts had been made to restructure its operations and, when that proved too difficult, the owners marketed it for sale.

“Unfortunately, no suitable interested parties emerged from the sale process, due to the scale of the losses and the investment required to turn the business around. Due to the Group’s lack of liquidity and increasing pressure from creditors, the directors had no option but to seek the appointment of Administrators.”

Trading has now ceased and 342 employees have been made redundant across 11 locations in Scotland and England.

The administrators will retain 86 staff at the group’s head office in Airdrie and across the depot and dealership network for up to four weeks to assist with an “orderly wind down of the business” and respond to any customer queries.

EY’s Colin Dempster, joint administrator, said: “The group has incurred operational difficulties and associated liquidity problems in recent years that reflect low utilisation of their rental vehicles, as a result of a competitive market, and changing customer preferences.”

The administrators are confident that they will successfully sell the business and assets of a third subsidiary, Alistair Fleming Limited based in Kilmarnock. The sale, to Arnold Clark, will see all 21 employees transferred to the new business. 

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