Wigan utility to axe 250 jobs

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CALISEN has announced plans for a restructuring of its Lowri Beck business unit in Wigan, designed to make it ‘a leaner, more efficient and sustainable business.’

As part of these plans, 250 jobs are expected to be lost throughout Great Britain.

Lowri Beck will start a consultation on the expected reduction in roles immediately.

Bert Pijls, Calisen CEO, said in a statement: “Since the new Lowri Beck leadership team was put in place at the start of the year, we have focused on identifying the best path forward for the business to return to profitability while preserving as many jobs as possible.

“The impact of the pandemic has accelerated our thinking as our meter installations have been paused over the last few months, however, the structural challenges to the business have existed for some time.

“It has become clear that there are areas in which we lack critical mass, so we must become leaner and more efficient to ensure that the business is sustainable in the longer term.

“Lowri Beck does important work, helping our customers, and those whose homes we install meters in, playing a vital role in improving household budgeting and contributing to the development of a cleaner, more efficient and sustainable energy segment.

“The measures we are proposing are important to secure a sustainable future for Lowri Beck and its team of engineers, meter readers and support staff.”

Lowri Beck was a capability-enhancing acquisition made by the Group in August 2019, to enable it to provide meter installation services.

Calisen and Lowri Beck had worked together for a number of years, meaning the business was well-known at the point of acquisition, including that it was loss-making at the operating level, a trend that continued into the first quarter of 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic halted meter installations.

A new leadership team has been in place since the beginning of the year and has undertaken a full review of the business model and operations.

This review has concluded that structural changes must be made in order to ensure the long-term viability of the Lowri Beck business.

Though some restructuring was anticipated at the time of initial public offering, the coronavirus pandemic has made the review more urgent and accelerated the requirement for change.

The plans announced this week are expected to result in Lowri Beck achieving at least break-even at an EBITDA (Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation) level in Financial Year 2021 and making a positive contribution to the Group in the medium term.

A restructuring reserve of approximately £4 million will be recorded in the Group’s accounts for the half-year to 30 June 2020 which are due to be published on 4 August.