Addison Lee forced to slash jobs in Covid downturn

The company has laid off 422 people from its chauffeur service

Private taxi firm Addison Lee has started laying off staff after the coronavirus downturn forced it to speed up its efforts to slash costs.

The firm has axed 422 people from its premium chauffeur service Tristar, documents show, and is considering further cuts to the parent company's backroom staff, according to an industry source. 

Addison Lee has been hit particularly hard by the collapse of international travel because much of its business relies on airport transfers.

Formerly owned by US private equity titan Carlyle, the taxi company was sold in March to a consortium of investors led by Cheyne Capital and Liam Griffin, the racing driver son of Addison Lee’s founder John.

It has long struggled with a heavy pile of debt and vanishing profit margins in the face of competition from the likes of Uber. Originally bought by Carlyle for £300m in 2013, the firm received bids as low as £40m when it went up for sale in 2019.

The company’s plight has further worsened since the pandemic struck, dramatically reducing corporate travel – a key source of revenue for Addison Lee. The company counts 80pc of the FTSE 100 as clients.

Addison Lee’s new owners have agreed to inject £45m of cash into the struggling business and refinance loans worth £100m.

But a company source said they have also pushed for a slimming down of non-essential roles alongside this support.

Controllers and other backroom staff such as salespeople have been axed as the business seeks to trim costs.

Addison Lee did not respond to multiple requests for comment.