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Business News

Amtrak hits buffers for second time in 20 months

The delivery company Amtrak has gone into administration for the second time in two years, placing 1,000 jobs in jeopardy and leaving customers across the country waiting for their orders.

Ernst & Young was appointed administrator by Netfold Ltd, owner of the West Midlands-based company, last Friday, less than 20 months after it waspurchased.

The decision has already had an impact on customers, who are awaiting delivery of goods such as wine from Oddbins, beds from Feather & Black, and televisions from the online retailer Dabs.com. The company also has a contract with the Government Car and Dispatch Service to carry mail between government departments.

Amtrak employs 1,000 people nationwide, either in their 80 depots or driving their fleet of over 2,000 trucks and vans.

When it was sold to Netfold in January 2007, the company had a turnover of £80m, but it has struggled in the face of rising fuel prices and falling consumer spending.

An Ernst & Young administrator said: "It's a business led by consumer demand, and as consumer spending power has weakened, Amtrak's business has suffered."

A spokesman for Ernst & Young said that customers were being told that the service would be disrupted, but that this would be in the form of a delay to delivery rather than any cancellation of orders. Amtrak had officially ceased trading, and the administrators were in the process of delivering the outstanding parcels.

Ernst & Young said employees would be receiving their full salary for the month of August, but the spokesman was unwilling to look beyond that. There had been a number of redundancies across the depot network.