Hundreds of jobs at stake as Complete Utilities 'ceases trading'

The company was the primary contractor for the Fastershire project, bringing broadband to Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. Credit: BPM Media

A major Gloucestershire company appears to have gone out of business - telling its main customer it has "ceased trading".

Complete Utilities - a 'big player' in the UK telecoms, water, power and gas sectors - was the primary contractor for the Fastershire project, bringing broadband to Gloucestershire and Herefordshire.

On Monday morning (1 November), around 300 staff reportedly received an email telling them not to turn up for work.

There are now security guards at the company's HQ at Overton Farm, Maisemore, and the company website and social media sites appear to have been taken down.

It comes just over a year since the firm - which has a £90 million publicly funded contract to deliver superfast broadband to 70,000 homes - told Companies House profits had plunged dramatically due to Covid.

Broadband provider Gigaclear was told on Sunday that Complete Utilities - its primary contractor for the Fastershire project - had ceased trading.

A Gigaclear spokesperson said: "We were notified on Sunday 31 October 2021 that Complete Utilities Ltd, one of our partners working with us to deliver ultrafast broadband across Herefordshire and Gloucestershire, were to cease trading with immediate effect.

"Complete Utilities Ltd have been good partners to us in the region since the start of our activity in 2015 and were still under contract with Gigaclear for existing and a future pipeline of work.

"We are assessing the impact and are in the process of transferring commitments to other contractors in the region. We have begun communicating to stakeholders and residents."

A Complete Utilities van on the A417 Credit: BPM Media/ Google

Complete Utilities dates back to 1999 and says it installs, maintains and upgrades critical infrastructure networks for the telecoms, water, power and gas sector across the UK.

After being awarded the Fastershire project its future looked bright, with director Steve Chaplin saying the company wanted to double in size and become a major national player.

But in July 2020 the director gave a year end update to Companies House that showed operating profits had fallen from £2,373,092 to £528,543, mainly due to the Covid-19 outbreak making "trading activities difficult".

Gigaclear holds the publicly funded Fastershire contract to bring fast broadband to 70,000 homes and businesses that would otherwise not be commercially viable to connect because they are in rural areas of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire.

ITV West Country has tried to make contact with Complete Utilities for a comment.