Samuel Cooke closure: family’s rescue package bid

Stephen Cooke
Stephen Cooke

A BURNLEY businessman whose family founded one of the town’s oldest companies, which last week went into administration, has launched a consortium bid to try and save it.

Mr Stephen Cooke (41), who was no longer involved with Samuel Cooke & Co. in Padiham, said he was “gutted and shocked” to discover that the oil distribution company had gone into administration.

The first stage of the bid has been submitted to administrators KPMG and a decision on whether it has been successful is expected to be reached in the coming weeks.

The Express revealed on Friday that the firm, and an offshoot, Company Fuel Cards Ltd, based in Barrowford, had closed. The consortium bid relates only to Samuel Cooke & Co.

Mr Cooke, who is managing director of CPL Consultants, a legal advice and consultancy company, in Burnley, said he wanted to take over the firm for the sake of his family’s legacy, employees and the town.

“Samuel Cooke & Co. was always such a strong company,” he said.

“It was shock central when I heard the news.

“Since then I’ve been trying to track down everyone I know to get down a proper bid.

“I’m trying to resurrect the company, get people their jobs back. My family ran it from 1845 to 1991, we went through two world wars and the cotton mills closing. We had problems but we always weathered them.

“I’m the last one in the family but I do have some strong backing. MP Gordon Birtwistle strongly backs our bid and we have a lot of support, both financially and from experts.

“My family has never been in administration in 200 years. I’ve been on a strong learning curve this week. The only way I can describe it is like buying something on eBay blindfolded.

“You don’t get to see what you’re buying. The company has always been strong. My grandfather died for it and my father died for it. I want to save it, for the family and for Burnley.”

Forty-six workers based in Padiham and 52 at Barrowford lost their jobs when the company went into administration.

Samuel Cooke & Co. was founded in 1845 and became one of the UK’s largest independently-owned fuel distributors.