Weekly Email News for the Glass, Glazing & Fenestration Industries

Leng leads rebirth of Customade but drops two sites
30th June 2020

Customade Group today confirmed that ‘the majority’ of the group and its brands had been bought out of administration by a private equity fund to form a new group headed by CEO David Leng.

The new group will continue to operate with Virtuoso Doors, Polyframe Norwich, Polyframe Stonehouse, REAL Aluminium, Atlas, Fineline Aluminium and the Stevenswood trade counter chain. Staff have been informed that the two other Polyframe sites, at Halifax and Livingston were not economic and will not reopen. Messages to staff said Livingston is now in administration and operations at Halifax are ‘temporarily suspended.’

The announcement was issued by David Leng today in a notice almost identical to a posting which first appeared on the group’s website last week but was taken down soon after without explanation, leading to extensive and heated social media activity.

Meanwhile, the announcement was immediately met by a notice from Veka, one of the group’s major PVC-U systems suppliers, refusing to trade with the new group (see separate report).

Customade was known to be up for sale since a notice was circulated by restructuring specialists Alvarez & Marsal read story billing it as a £124million multi-site fenestration group operating across seven brands.

In today’s announcement, the company said: “ European Private Equity fund Nimbus, together with its financing source MidCap Financial, have agreed to buy the majority of the Customade Group out of administration and create a new group. The new group is made up of Virtuoso Doors, Polyframe Norwich, Polyframe Stonehouse, REAL Aluminium, Atlas, Fineline Aluminium and Stevenswood.

“This acquisition saves over 870 jobs and provides a strong footing for the acquired businesses to face the post Covid -19 economic pressures and pursue the new owner’s ambitious growth plans.”

It continues: The new group management team will be led by Chief Executive David Leng who added: “After an extensive process it has been good to find an experienced investment partner in Nimbus to save the majority of the Customade business in these exceptionally difficult economic circumstances.

“I am very disappointed for the great staff, suppliers and customers at the Polyframe Halifax and Polyframe Livingston factories. These sites were uneconomic to re-open and we were unable to raise funding in these difficult times to restart them. I would like to sincerely thank everyone for their hard work and understanding.”

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