The company, which makes and supplies toughened glass and double glazing, has a turnover of approximately £21m. It employed 285 people across two sites in New Costessey and Spar Road, Norwich. A total of 88 staff were made redundant immediately upon the appointment of Chris Pole and Richard Philpott from KPMG as joint administrators on Monday this week. A further 137 are now being laid off and just 60 are being retained to meet existing orders.
Chris Pole said: “The company has struggled for a number of years in the wake of the severe downturn that has hit the UK construction sector and wider economy. While market conditions have been very challenging, management and creditors worked together to address the business’ financial problems by agreeing a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) in April 2011.”
As recently as August 2012 managing director Philip Davis was telling the Eastern Daily Press of a 10% year-on-year rise in sales, and a bigger than expected seasonal increase during the summer. “We are confident that the increase in orders will be sustained to the end of November or beyond and that is why we have been able to take on the additional staff because the upturn looks like it will continue for us,” Mr Davis told the newspaper at that time.
However, the administrators suggest that any such revival was illusory. “In spite of the company’s efforts to find a resolution to its problems via a CVA, the company’s cashflow has been substantially impacted by a further decline in turnover and the insolvency of a key customer,” Mr Pole said. “In the context of a persistently difficult market for businesses supplying into the construction sector, the company has been unable to restructure further or to attract additional funding, leaving the directors with no other option than to seek the appointment of administrators.”
The administrators are seeking to complete work in progress at the main site in New Costessey while finding a buyer for the business and its assets.