Belfast Telegraph

Legal wrangle hit Tyrone Crystal administration

By Margaret Canning

The administration of iconic Northern Ireland company Tyrone Crystal was thwarted by a theft from the company premises and a legal wrangle over trade marks, a report has revealed.

The company folded with a loss of around 30 jobs in March due to a decline in the popularity of its glassware and the availability of similar, cheaper, goods from overseas.

An administrators’ report filed this month by business advisory firm BDO shows that a sale of plant, machinery and office equipment fetched around £28,613.

BDO also began a major sales and marketing process to sell the brand name and remaining glass crystal.

Altogether 14 parties were interested in buying the business as a going concern, and seven then made offers for selected assets of the business, including the Tyrone Crystal brand name and stocks. A bidding process began between two parties who wanted to acquire the company’s brand name, presentation boxes and crystal moulds.

A sale price of £132,000 was then agreed with Tyrone Crystal Design Ltd for the sale of the company's brand name, branding presentation boxes and all its crystal moulds.

Tyrone Crystal Design Limited is a newly incorporated firm set up by the first company’s former shareholders, Thompson Butler and Maurice Sherling.

Around 30 of the moulds, which had a value of around £30,000, were stolen from the company premises in May.

But matters became more complicated when a competitor firm, which had also been involved in the bidding process, turned out to have registered trademarks with the Republic’s Patents Office which closely resembled the company’s brand name.

The administrators then sought legal advice to protect the assets, including the brand name, and |Tyrone Crystal Design was reimbursed for legal costs of £860 incurred during the registration of trademarks.

The process of selling the company name and boxes was delayed by the legal disagreement — while the theft of 30 press moulds led to the agreed purchaser refusing to go ahead with the sale. All parties then decided to renegotiate the deal and it was found that only 10 sets of press moulds had a commercial value.

For that reason, £30,000 of the sale proceeds was set aside by the company administrator for the purchase of 10 replacement moulds and the original sale of the company brand name and other goods for £132,000 went ahead.

But a spokeswoman at WM Courtney accountants in Dungannon, where the new company was registered, said the firm did not know about the plans for the new company.

Belfast Telegraph

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