Jobs at risk at popular Batley bed makers Silentnight

A BED maker employing 350 people locally is hoping to secure a rescue deal to save jobs and a £100m hole in its pension fund.

A BED maker employing 350 people locally is hoping to secure a rescue deal to save jobs and a £100m hole in its pension fund.

Silentnight, which has a branch on Soothill Lane in Batley, could lose 1,250 jobs nationally. The firm has applied for a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) to help it avoid administration after its lender pulled the plug on its banking facilities.

The family-owned group was founded in 1946 and supplies around half a million beds a year to retailers.

Bosses are hoping to safeguard the company’s future by transferring its pension fund into the hands of the Pension Protection Fund and asking creditors to accept less than they are owed.

Silentnight also employs staff at its main site in Barnoldswick in east Lancashire, Cumbria, and Ireland.

Chief executive Neal Mernock said the company was “trading profitably and generating cash”, but added “the withdrawal of our facilities by our formerly supportive lender this year has left us with an unserviceable level of historic debt”.

Silentnight is facing a £100m deficit in its pension fund due to a number of acquisitions the company made during the 1980s and 1990s.

The final salary pension fund has around 1,500 members, but only 100 still work for the group. The pension fund and suppliers will be asked to vote on the CVA on May 6.

Accountancy firm KPMG, which is arranging the CVA, said the deal was much better than the company having to go into administration.

 

Journalists

Doug Thomson
Huddersfield Town correspondent
Chris Roberts
Huddersfield Giants correspondent
Louise Cooper
Crime correspondent
Nick Lavigueur
Health Correspondent
Joanne Douglas
Local Government Correspondent
Linda Whitwam
Education Correspondent
Henryk Zientek
Business Correspondent
Val Javin
Features Editor
Martin Shaw
Mirfield Correspondent