Commercial vehicle hire firm TOM Group, along with its Scottish subsidiary companies TOM Vehicle Rental and Caledonian Truck & Van, has gone into administration.

The group has ceased trading and 342 employees have been made redundant across 11 locations in Scotland and England.

A total of 86 members of staff will be retained at the group’s head office in Airdrie and across the depot and dealership network for up to four weeks to assist the administrators to wind down of the business and respond to customer enquiries.

The administrators, Colin Dempster and Fiona Taylor of Ernst & Young, said they were confident of selling the business and assets of a third subsidiary, Alistair Fleming Limited based in Kilmarnock, and expected its 21 employees to then transfer to the buyer.

According to the administrators, TOM Group faced challenging trading conditions in recent months. Considerable efforts had been made to restructure its operations and, when that proved too difficult, the owners marketed it for sale.

No suitable interested parties emerged from the sale process due to the scale of the losses and the investment required to turn the business around, and as a consequence of the group’s lack of liquidity and increasing pressure from creditors, the directors said they had no option but to seek the appointment of administrators.

Dempster said: “The group has incurred operational difficulties and associated liquidity problems in recent years that reflect low utilisation of their rental vehicles, as a result of a competitive market, and changing customer preferences.

“Despite the best efforts to save the group, it could not continue to operate as a going concern and administrators were appointed.

“It is with regret that 342 people have been made redundant. Our specialist team will work with those affected to help them claim outstanding wages and other payments due from the Redundancy Payments Office.”

Dempster added: “The administrators and fleet funders are contacting customers as a matter of urgency to ensure that the necessary arrangements are in place for them to experience as little disruption to service as possible.”