FIT bans Customade amid
‘Bad feeling and suffering’
14th July 2020
FIT Show organisers this week joined Veka and other suppliers in declaring that they will not deal with the new pre-pack Customade, saying it would not feel comfortable taking a booking for the next show ‘under the current cloud of bad feeling and suffering’
Meanwhile, a number of suppliers large and small are reported to have told others in the industry or posted on social media that they will not be supplying the new group, which was bought out of administration in a pre-pack deal, with former CEO David Leng continuing in the same role.
FIT Show event director Nickie West said in a statement: “Trust is at the forefront of everything that FIT Show stands for. We take our responsibility as the industry’s primary platform very seriously, and endeavour to support our community at all times.
“A great number of our exhibitors and individuals in our industry seem to have been adversely impacted by the situation, which is still evolving, around Customade and its senior management team.
“We are not privy to all the facts, but we do listen to our industry and always support where we are able to. We would not feel comfortable accepting a stand booking from the new group for FIT Show 2021 under the current cloud of bad feeling and suffering.”
Meanwhile, a report from Customade administrators Alvarez & Marsal show that the transaction of the sale from administration was: “by way of the Purchaser assuming £22.8million of existing debt facilities from the lenders. No cash consideration was received.”
The report also reports that the company knew it had not enough cash flow to service its debt and meet obligation to stakeholders at the end of 2019 and had sought further funding before calling in A&M. The company had also attempted to sell its loss-making Halifax business – one of the sites not acquired in the eventual pre-pack sale – but a potential deal fell away during the Covid-19 lockdown.
In another section, it gives the reasons for A&M choosing the pre-pack route, including: “It preserved value in the group’s goodwill/brand.”
The new group is made up of former brands Virtuoso Doors, Polyframe, REAL Aluminium, Atlas, Fineline Aluminium and the Stevenswood trade counter chain but without two of the Polyframe sites, at Livingston and Halifax. A statement is still awaited on one other site, the Hourglass Seal glass processor in Gloucester.