Almost 500 staff face an uncertain future once more following the collapse of a deal to save a north-east papermill from closure.
It was confirmed last night that the discussions between Arjowiggins and a preferred bidder for the Stoneywood site had ended without a sale.
In a last ditch attempt to save the business, however, talks have now started between the joint administrators and senior management team at the mill in order to try to secure a buyout.
And North East Scotland MSP, Mark McDonald, said he did not believe yesterday’s announcement was all “doom and gloom”. He said the management buyout now being pursued will give hope that the future of the mill can be secured, amidst the continued uncertainty.
Fears were initially sparked when parent company Sequana went into administration at the start of the year.
A deal was swiftly put in place to sell it on but negotiations failed in January, throwing the future of one of the north-east’s last remaining paper mills into doubt.
Around a month later, administrators FRP Advisory said a buyer had been identified and all assets were to be sold as a going concern.
Last night, it was revealed these negotiations had also fallen through.
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A spokesman for the joint administrators said: “We have begun discussions with a management buyout team (MBO) after negotiations with a preferred bidder ended without a sale.
“Discussions will now be progressed with the MBO team, Scottish Enterprise and other interested parties over the coming weeks to explore whether a sale can be secured.”
In the meantime, it remains “business as usual” and the plant continues to operate.
Last night politicians urged the Scottish Government to intervene to ensure the security of the jobs.
Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, Jamie Hepburn, said he was “disappointed” the preferred bidder had not been able to secure a deal.
He said the Scottish Government, alongside Scottish Enterprise, would continue to work with partners to ensure all options are explored to “secure the best possible outcome for the business and its employees”.
Mr Hepburn is to meet the administrator, Unite union representatives and local management tomorrow where he will pledge the “full support” of the Scottish Government and its agencies.