Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

1,000 jobs at risk as Auto Windscreens collapses

Around 1,100 jobs are under threat after the UK's second largest windscreen repair and replacement firm collapsed into administration.

Auto Windscreens, which has branches in Belfast, Bangor and Londonderry, called in administrators Deloitte after suffering trading and cashflow woes.

The majority of staff employed by the Chesterfield-based group have already been sent home while Deloitte holds "urgent" discussions to try to secure the future of the firm.

Deloitte said no redundancies had been made, but added it had asked employees to stop working as it was unable to continue trading the firm until financing is in place.

It has approached major customers in the hope of drumming up enough funding to be able to trade the company until it finds a buyer.

Auto Windscreens operates a network of 68 fitting centres across the UK, 550 mobile units, a distribution centre in Aston, Birmingham, and a central call centre.

The company, which has an annual turnover of around £63m, is headquartered in Chesterfield.

Deloitte said Auto Windscreens had been leading a recovery plan, but was hit by delays in implementing IT systems, coupled with lower-than-expected revenues in the final quarter of 2010, which led to cashflow pressures.

The group had been holding talks with a number of parties to secure funding, but was dealt a final blow when one of its major customers ended its contract as it received a winding up petition from a large creditor.

Matt Cowlishaw, partner in Deloitte's reorganisation services team in the Midlands, said: "It is extremely disappointing to see such a well-known business enter administration.

"The company worked extremely hard to try and recapitalise the business, but unfortunately this could not be achieved in the time available.

"We are now in urgent discussions with the key stakeholders and interested parties in an attempt to save the business.

"We have provided the employees with full briefings and have set up a dedicated employee hotline to help them understand their position."

The dedicated Deloitte employee hotline can be contacted on 01246 223000.

Customers of Auto Windscreens are being advised to make alternative arrangements with another supplier.

Deloitte blamed delays in implementing a new IT system and a poor end to 2010.

The business was due to celebrate its 40th birthday this year.

Auto Windscreens was founded in 1971 and serves major motor insurers, fleet businesses and private individuals.

A message on the company's website yesterday stated: "Regrettably due to the administration of the company all operations have been temporarily suspended. We hope to resume shortly."

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