Astracast owner sets up new company

Darren Cooper (pictured), the owner of sinks and taps firm Astracast, has registered a new company called Astrasinks.

The company was incorporated on November 29 at Companies House and lists Cooper as a director and major shareholder. It also lists Timothy Hosking as the finance director.

Its registered office address is the same as for Astracast International Holdings Ltd (AIH) in Bradford.

Last August, Cooper, the former managing director of failed distribution firm Cooper Callas, bought Astracast from Maltese investment company HLD and shortly after sold the business to himself in a prepack administration deal.

The kitchen sinks and taps firm, which was founded in 1984 and was a big name in the UK in the 1990s, has more recently fallen on tough times with the brand being neglected by a revolving door of managers.

In an in-depth interview with kbbreview in January, Cooper pledged to change this and put Astracast back on the map, promising to invest in its products, factory operations, marketing and retail and trade presence.

He said he would focus on its kitchen sink business, selling the brand’s bath operations shortly after buying the firm.

Astracast, which used to be part of the Jacuzzi group, has had a number of different owners over the years including a US private equity firm called Apollo Global Management.

But in 2012, Astracast sinks and its private label bath business were sold to HLD Capital, leaving their Jacuzzi operations behind.

Speaking to kbbreview back in January, Cooper said he was confident that he could make the Astracast name “great” again and turn it into the number-one kitchen sink brand within three years.

Two months later, though, “following a downturn in trading”, he said he was forced to put the firm into administration with the loss of 42 jobs and sold key assets to a new company (AIH).

At the time, he said this was an unfortunate and unexpected result of a broken tenancy agreement.

This week as the January issue of kbbreview went to press, some UK retailers listed as stockists on the firm’s website told kbbreview that Astracast products are impossible to get hold of or they haven’t heard from the brand in years.

One kbb retailer said that they used to be a big supporter of Astracast, but lately have had “major issues” with supply and now have largely switched to Clearwater. They currently have one Astracast sink listed on their website.

The owner said that they sold a curved black granite Astracast sink in May, which came back damaged shortly after and they were still waiting for a replacement.

“The distributor just can’t get hold of the product. It’s deeply frustrating for everyone,” she told kbbreview.

The retail designer at Alon Interiors, which has three showrooms in Kent, said he hadn’t seen a representative from Astracast since he started with the business four years ago.

“We have good relationships with 1810 and Blanco. They keep us updated, come and visit us, so I’m much more inclined to give them our business,” Harry Colby said. “We might get an Astracast brochure pushed through our door once in a while.”

“Astracast is just not on my radar.”

Distributors JP Distribution and Waterline, which used to sell Astracast, do not currently list the brand in their brochures online.

Darren Cooper was not available for comment.

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