Administrators negotiate fate of Carter & Carter

Talks are under way to decide the fate of the rump of the failed training business, Carter & Carter, much of which was sold last week to Newcastle College.

Admininstrator Deloitte said it was talking to potential buyers and stakeholders, such as the Learning & Skills Council (LSC), to “effect an orderly migration of learners to alternative suppliers and to transfer employees wherever possible”.

The LSC said it was “working to rapidly meet the needs of about 3,000 learners in those parts of the business that remain unsold” and that its “number one priority is to place all remaining learners in high quality training provision as quickly as possible”.

The Carter & Carter group comprised 15 subsidiary companies and employed more than 2,000 staff, providing training – largely apprenticeships – to more than 20,000 learners at a time. It ran training at nine locations, including Middlesborough and Basingstoke and its Nottingham HQ.

None of the parties involved will say how much Newcastle College will pay for the part of the business it will acquire, but it’s understood about 1,000 staff will transfer to the new owner.

Train to Gain business is the jewel in Carter & Carter’s crown. For the six months to January 31 2008 it had won Train to Gain contracts worth £5.8m, compared to £6.6m for whole of 2006-07.

Newcastle College chairman Jamie Martin said the acquisition is “a great opportunity for us to deliver on a national scale, and furthers our strategy of becoming the training provider of choice for business”. The college said it now expects to turn over £150m a year with the addition of the Carter & Carter business.

Carter & Carter went into administration earlier this month after management failed to find a buyer after running up debts of £129m by mid January, up from £86m at the same point in 2007. Its shares were suspended in October at 82.5 pence – they were £12.75 before the death, in a helicopter crash, of founder Philip Carter in May 2007.

In one of his last reported utterances before his death, Carter said: “We’ll achieve the same income as Cambridge university in four or five years.”

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