Ex-florist boss's boardroom ban over £160,000 debts
A former director of one of Northern Ireland's best known flower delivery firms has been banned from the boardroom after racking up debts of more than £160,000.
Michael Ferguson (32) has been struck off for five years, following his time as director of Lowood Developments Limited, which traded as Ferguson Flowers.
The firm was put into liquidation in May 2013, with the limited company dissolved in January 2015.
The family firm has operated for more than 30 years.
Mr Ferguson was given his boardroom ban because of a "failure to fully co-operate with the liquidator" as well as failing to "adequately respond to the liquidator's queries and provide information in relation to the operation of the business".
The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment - which issues the business disqualification orders - accused Mr Ferguson of "causing and permitting the company to fail to maintain and/or preserve and/or deliver up adequate accounting records".
The department said it "accepted the disqualification undertaking from Michael Ferguson June 23, 2015 based on the following unfit conduct which solely for the purposes of the disqualification procedure was not disputed". Mr Ferguson did not respond when contacted for comment by the Belfast Telegraph yesterday.
Established forty years ago in 1975, Ferguson Flowers International became Ireland's largest retail florist chain.
It once boasted 15 stores including outlets in Belfast, as well and branches in Lisburn and Newtownabbey.
It's understood those outlets are no longer in operation.
In 2011 Malcolm Ferguson of Ferguson Flowers International said that harsh weather over Christmas was "the final nail in the coffin" for the family firm as he was declared bankrupt.
But the family continued the business, and began focusing on its internet-led sales, setting up on Belmont Road in the east of the city.
In a Belfast Telegraph article in 2013 another family member, David Ferguson, said the "move has been great for our business, and we have increased our staffing levels as a result".
"Our move back to east Belfast has really brought Ferguson's full circle," he was quoted as saying.
"We left the high street as the internet boomed.
"But in more recent times customers have embraced local shops and are showing more support to local businesses in their community.
"For the moment, we have the perfect balance."
The business offers a range of flower bouquets for delivery right across Northern Ireland, starting off at prices of around £25.
Ferguson Flowers began trading in Belfast more than 30 years ago.
The firm eventually spread to 15 premises including Wellington Place in the city centre. Lowood Developments Limited - which traded as Ferguson Flowers - was placed into liquidation in 2013. In June Michael Ferguson was disqualified as a director for a five-year period.