SCORES of North-East jobs have been lost after a car part supplier went into administration.

Unipart Automotive, one of the UK’s largest second hand parts firms, has ceased trading.

Administrators KPMG say 1,244 workers have lost their jobs, with more than 40 North-East workers affected.

Loading article content

Branches in Durham City, Newcastle, Sunderland and York have closed, with a North-East hub also shutting.

A distribution hub and branch in Stockton, and a further branch in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, have been transferred to parts supply business Andrew Page.

Bosses added they have sold 21 Unipart branches to Andrew Page and 12 sites to The Parts Alliance, though its 147 remaining bases have ceased trading.

Mark Orton, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, said: “Despite intensive efforts, a sale of the whole Unipart Automotive business could not be reached, and a buyer could only be found for 33 of the sites on a going concern basis.

“The business had been experiencing financial stress for a number of years, so the level of cash and further operational restructuring required to rescue a more substantial part of the business posed too much risk for most interested parties.

“Our team of employment specialists will be supporting all staff on completing redundancy forms and putting them in touch with job seeker services.

“We will now be reviewing what options are available for the remainder of the business, such as selling leasehold interests.”

Operating a network of 180 branches and distribution hubs trading under the Unipart Automotive, Partco Autoparts, and Express Factors brands, the firm employed more than 1,800 people.

Unipart Automotive was controlled by H2 Equity Partners.

John Neill, chairman and chief executive of the Unipart Group, said: “We are saddened by the Unipart Automotive situation.

“Even though we sold control of this business years ago, we are concerned for the future of the employees.”

The Unipart Automotive distribution business was sold by Unipart Group in 2011.

Unipart Group retained a passive equity stake, and a condition of the sale was that Unipart Group exercised no control over the business.