THE entire workforce at the Greenock base of a technology sales and distribution company will be wiped out after the debt-stricken business plunged into administration.

Stunned staff at Misco UK’s Scottish arm at Cartsburn were told yesterday they were being made redundant after being summoned to a 9am meeting with bosses who had battled to save the business.

Hopes of an 11th-hour rescue deal via a possible buyout by an American retail giant were dashed, leaving chief executive Alan Cantwell with no choice but to call in accountants.

It means that around 80 local jobs will be lost.

The wife of one worker said: “It is devastating news. Whole families have been affected by this, and Christmas is just around the corner.

“The staff were basically just told to go home and that they would receive letters next week.”

A source says the workforce received only partial salary payments for the month on Wednesday.

The insider said: “Workers were sent home on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, so the writing was pretty much on the wall.

“The administrators were at Misco’s head office in Wellingborough on Wednesday and people were told that if a deal couldn’t be reached by midnight then the company would have to go into administration.”

It is understood Misco’s cash crisis got out of control last week when the taxman issued a winding-up petition over an unpaid VAT bill that it inherited following a management buyout earlier this year.

The Tele reported in August how more than 60 Greenock staff were to lose their jobs by the end of the year as a result of the company closing its warehouse and distribution operation as part of a restructuring aimed at protecting a small sales team.

But yesterday’s development means that all positions will now be axed.

Around 30 staff, including a ‘handful’ in Greenock, will remain in post until the firm is wound up.

It had been hoped that a US-based reseller business called PCM would buy the company but a deal failed to materialise.
Geoff Rowley, Tom MacLennan and John Lowe, partners at business advisory firm FRP, have now been appointed as joint administrators.

A statement from FRP said: “Misco UK has ceased trading and the vast majority of the company’s 330 UK staff have been made redundant.

“Whilst UK redundancies have been made, a number of jobs are being retained at the Wellingborough headquarters and the Greenock warehouse to assist the joint administrators manage the process of realising the company’s assets in the interests of creditors.

“Following the receipt of winding up petition from HMRC, the company was left no viable option other than to seek the protection of administration.”

One Greenock worker said: “I think the company has been treated terribly by HMRC because they are forcing people onto benefits when maybe another solution could have been found.”

In the year up to January 2016, Misco UK posted an operating loss of nearly £8.5m, with bosses blaming ‘intense price competition’ and narrow profit margins.