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Another management buyout for Christie-Tyler group business

UPDATED LONDON: The businesses of the collapsed Bridgend-based furniture group Christie Tyler seem to be getting some fresh lease of life. In yet another management buyout, a group of South Wales professionals has acquired the Midlands subsidiary of the group, Ultra Furniture. The deal will ensure jobs for 220 people.

Published :
Sun, 24 Jul 2005 05:05
By : James Rowe
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UPDATED LONDON: The businesses of the collapsed Bridgend-based furniture group Christie Tyler seem to be getting some fresh lease of life. In yet another management buyout, a group of South Wales professionals has acquired the Midlands subsidiary of the group, Ultra Furniture. The deal will ensure jobs for 220 people.

The buyout was initiated by Ultra Furniture's managing director Paul Whitelocks and four other members of the executive team of the company recently. Ultra Furniture has sales of over 15 million pounds a year, mostly in sofas and allied products.

Christie Tyler has been under a receiver since sometime back and various parts of its business have been sold off, including Pontypridd-based Mobel Cambria in a management buyout and Deeside
Furniture, in North Wales, which was acquired by Westbridge Furniture Designs.

The administrative receivers of the group, Ernst & Young, had in July last declared some 238 workers redundant as it could not find a buyer for the collapsed firm, which had 2,600 employees and had fallen prey to cheap imports and the collapse of retailers Courts and Allders, two important customers.

The firm's major business, employing 1,150 workers, was bought in July by a management team, led by chief executive Scott Malvenan. The deal included the well known Parker Knoll brand. Malvenan has set up a new company, Sofa Brands International, which took on the liabilities of the group's pension fund, totalling 8.3 million pounds in the 2003 accounts.

Besides this Christie Tyler group buyout, Sofa Brands International has also acquired 100 per cent of the share capital of Derwent Upholstery Ltd, Duresta Upholstery Ltd, Leabrooks Upholstery Ltd and G Plan Upholstery Ltd. It has also under its fold a start up company in Alytus, Lithuania and a 50 per cent stake in ACT Leather Ltd, a joint venture with Asoke Motors Holdings Ltd in Thailand.

In a statement to the company's stakeholders, Malvenan said the company has set up a new company in Treforest, near Cardiff, which acquired certain assets including the SIFA brand, the order book and
employees of Cambria Mobel Limited, a business of Christie Tyler. Formerly Crimsontrain Ltd, and renamed Cameo Sofa Company Ltd, it will be reorganised to create a strong base to supply customers with private label of Parker Knoll uplholstery, said Malvenan.

Sofa Brands International has also acquired the Contemporary Furniture Company brand which will be launched at some point in the future.


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