February 1 2015 Latest news:
Ben Woods, Business writer
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
A serial entrepreneur has secured the future of more than 20 highly-skilled workers after a Norwich company collapsed into liquidation.
Peter Colby has bought the assets of the retail furniture manufacturer Quantum Industries and launched new company – Quantum Joinery – with the same staff.
The new business comes after Quantum Industries fell into liquidation after it failed to recover from a £100,000 bad debt left by its main customer HMV, which went into administration at the beginning of last year.
Mr Colby – who bought the assets through his Norwich-based Peter Colby Commercial Group – said Quantum Joinery was set for a brighter future because the market conditions in the retail sector were starting to improve.
“I took the view that the business had a skilled workforce and it was important to save the jobs and the manufacturing ability that they have at Quantum Industries,” he said.
“We have saved aspects of the business and now it will go forward. It can be difficult to rebuild a business, especially when the plug is out and the water is running out of the bath – the water being the working capital.
“The collapse of HMV sparked the demise of that side of the company. To rebuild the business during this slump has been very difficult, but the slump is now over and we are now able to move forward. We have lots of new customers and they are pleased with the work that we are doing for them.”
Quantum Industries looked to bounce back from the bad debt left by HMV but ran into financial trouble with the Royal Bank of Scotland, which enforced a stringent debt reduction plan that stripped it of the funds it needed to trade.
The 100-year-old company, based on Diamond Road, sought a fresh finance deal with Skipton Business Finance to ensure the future of its staff, but it was not enough to keep it afloat.
Mr Colby said that his company was a creditor that lost money from Quantum Industries going into liquidation, but believed the workforce had the ability to drive a new business in the retail market.
He also confirmed that Quantum Industries managing director Toni Manning will remain a director of the company going forward.
Sprowston-based Peter Colby Commercial Group is a collection of companies covering the property, logistics and manufacturing sectors. It employs more than 300 people across the region.
Around 2,000 Tesco workers discovered their jobs were at risk after the supermarket giant disclosed the locations of 43 store closures including two in Essex - a Homeplus store at Chelmsford and a smaller store in Heybridge.