Harrogate business CNG confirms loss of all 145 jobs as it falls victim to global energy crisis

Gas supplier CNG has confirmed that all 145 of its employees are to lose their jobs after the company fell victim to the global energy crisis.

Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 4:48 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 5:48 pm
Gas supplier CNG, which supplies gas to 46,500 business customers, has confirmed that all 145 of its employees are to lose their jobs

The Harrogate company, which is based on Victoria Avenue, had been looking for a buyer for its retail arm, which supplies gas to 46,500 business customers, but CEO Paul Stanley said its efforts had been unsuccessful.

Staff were told last week that they would be made redundant.

A spokesperson said a skeleton team would be asked to stay on to help wind down the business, but added that final dates had yet to be confirmed.

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The Harrogate company, which is based on Victoria Avenue, had been looking for a buyer for its retail arm but its efforts have been unsuccessful

In comments emailed to the Harrogate Advertiser, Mr Stanley said: “This is a very sad time for the company and a terrible loss of a great Yorkshire business that has achieved so much over the years.

"I am proud of the staff for their continued professionalism and focus on customer service whilst dealing with this awful situation.

“CNG has a great team, and I know that the people that work at CNG in all roles will be an asset wherever they choose to work next.”

In addition to its retail arm, CNG was also a wholesaler, providing natural gas to UK utilities including Octopus and Bulb.

However, the recent unprecedented volatility in the energy market saw the insolvency of four of its customers – UPU, Avro, Green and Igloo, all large suppliers – leaving debts of many millions of pounds.

Mr Stanley said: “CNG was still recovering from losses incurred during the extreme winter conditions of 2018-19.

"The team at CNG has worked hard over the last two years to stabilize the business, and great progress was being made.

“However, the scale of this new wave of losses is too large for the company to bear.

"It is tragic that after 27 years, CNG is having to withdraw from the market.”

CNG was founded as Contract Natural Gas Ltd in 1994, following the deregulation of the gas industry.

Its then managing director Jacqui Hall led it through over a decade of growth, and was named Business Personality of the Year at the 2015 Harrogate Advertiser Business Awards.

By 2019, CNG had over 200 employees and revenues exceeding £250m.

It placed an emphasis on customer service and community involvement, and a long-running sponsorship deal saw Harrogate Town football club’s ground renamed the CNG Stadium.

Mr Stanley took over as CEO in January 2020 and immediately set about cutting costs to boost efficiency, reducing staff numbers and returning the business to profit, despite the challenge of Covid last year.

He added: “CNG was always more than just a business, playing a full role in the wider community and creating a great place for people to work and develop their careers.

“Over the last few weeks, colleagues have been kept informed of the implications of the crisis in the energy market and likely impact on jobs.

"CNG confirmed last week that all efforts to find a way forwards for the business had been unsuccessful and redundancies should be expected over the coming weeks.”

The wind down process is being handled by Interpath Advisory, which was formerly the restructuring practice of KPMG and has an office in Leeds.