Rapra Technology Ltd., a U.K. polymer research and technology company, has been placed in administration with the immediate loss of 21 jobs at its head office in Shawbury, England.
Rapra, founded in 1919 as the Rubber and Plastics Research Association, had expanded rapidly as a fully commercial company since it was bought out by its management in 2002.
Last year, the company announced ambitious plans to increase its sales by 50 percent and boost its workforce by 50 in the next five years. But a revaluation of Rapra's pension fund by actuaries, which left the firm liable to pay as much as £100 million ($174 million) toward past and present employee pensions, is one significant reason for putting the business in administration, according to a source close to the company.
On March 8, Rapra was taken over by business restructuring specialists Kim Rayment and Geoff Kinlan from administrator BDO Stoy Hayward of Manchester, England.
``Directors at Rapra Technology took the decision to seek the protection of an administration order, in part due to the cost of existing pension liabilities and future [pension] liabilities,'' Rayment said in a news release.
Administrators were unwilling to confirm the £100 million figure, a spokeswoman said.
In the statement, Rayment said he hopes it will be possible to sell ``this long-established and well-respected business'' as a going concern and so secure future employment.
Before the latest cuts, Rapra's Shawbury headquarters employed 130. The company also runs a small branch office in Billingham, England.
Rapra provides consulting, technology and information services for the polymer industry as well as industries using rubber.
When a company is put into administration, it is considered to be in trouble but not hopeless, and it cannot be closed without the court's permission.