Belfast Telegraph

Failed Tyrone Crystal name ‘worth £100,000’

By Margaret Canning

One of Northern Ireland's best-loved brand names carried a £100,000 price tag even after the business behind it went into administration, the Business Telegraph can reveal.

Three companies were interested in buying the Tyrone Crystal name after Tyrone Crystal Giftware Ltd went into administration in March, according to a recently filed report by administrators BDO.

And in an unexpected twist, a new company called Tyrone Crystal Design has been formed by three people, including two of the failed company's former shareholders, Thompson Butler and Maurice Sherling.

That second business was incorporated at Companies House less than two months after Tyrone Crystal Giftware collapsed.

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.

According to BDO’s report, losses jumped from £276,000 in 2009 to £420,000 up to February this year.

The administrators’ report said they had openly marketed the sale of the company’s brand name. “This process resulted in sale negotiations being entered into with three interested parties to acquire the brand name.

“Subject to the completion of a sale agreement, it is expected that circa £100,000 will be received for the company’s brand name.”

Sales from its factory shop in Dungannon up to April 2 brought in over £76,000 as news of the company's failure brought a flood of nostalgia from souvenir hunters eager to own a piece of manufacturing history.

The business was owed £82,000 by trade debtors, of which £30,000 was collected in the first six weeks of administration. Auctions were held by Wilson Auctions of the company's assets, with two company cars sold for £9,500. Sinn Fein MLA Francie Molloy said Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council had investigated buying some Tyrone Crystal artefacts from the administrators, including photos of a visit to the factory by the late US Senator Ted Kennedy.

Mr Molloy said Cavan Crystal and Galway Crystal had been approached about buying the Tyrone brand name.

“No-one from Cavan Crystal or Galway Crystal was available for comment. It would be a shame if the name was to be sold off without any input from local people,’’ he said.

BDO’s report revealed that the company’s directors approached them for advice about selling the company in December when they said sales would be boosted in the run-up to Christmas and in the January sales. But even before the end of last year, the firm had already put staff on a three-day week and cut capital and marketing spend.

BDO began marketing the company for sale and identified 53 potential buyers. This number was whittled down to 14 but all parties withdrew after an assessment of the business and no offer was made. The exercise cost the company £10,000.

The company’s directors then applied for two BDO administrators to be appointed to run it. All employees were paid their wages and accrued holiday pay before the redundancy.

Belfast Telegraph

Weekly Business Digest Newsletter

This week's business news headlines, directly to your inbox every Tuesday.