Auctioneering and estate agency firm Wright Marshall has gone into administration, owing thousands of pounds to farmers in the Midlands.
The company, which operates Beeston Castle livestock market in Cheshire, appointed administrators on Wednesday (26 June) and has ceased trading with immediate effect, leading to the redundancy of 37 market staff.
A number of farmers who have sold livestock at auctions the company held earlier in June contacted Farmers Weekly to report that cheques which were subsequently paid to them from the company had bounced.
The closure of Beeston means there are no livestock auctions operating in Cheshire.
Farmers were first alerted when the firm cancelled their weekly Thursday cattle and sheep sale for 20 June on the prior afternoon, citing “reasons beyond [the company’s] control.”
Subsequent sales on the following Monday and Wednesday were then also cancelled with no further explanation.
Anthony Collier, joint administrator, said: “Wright Marshall is a well-established business in Cheshire and Derbyshire, providing a range of services for the local community.
“The challenges facing the agricultural sector are well documented, and the downturn in livestock volumes being sold through the auction mart have resulted in this business making unsustainable losses.”
Wright Marshall also sells property and fine art and offers commercial and rural professional advice. The joint administrators are Anthony Collier and Ben Woolrych of Manchester-based firm FRP Advisory.
The administrators have said they will continue to trade the real estate and professional services divisions of the company, as well as the fine art auctioneers, while a buyer is found for these businesses.
NFU Cheshire county chairman Richard Blackburn said: “If members have issues they would like to discuss we would ask them to contact CallFirst on 0370 845 8458.”