Astracast, once one of the biggest brands of sinks and taps in the UK, has collapsed into administration once again.
According to the Gazette, the UK’s official journal of public record, Astracast appointed Julien Irving and Andrew Poxon of Manchester business rescue firm Leonard Curtis on January 30 as joint administrators.
Only a few weeks previously, Astracast’s former owner Darren Cooper told kbbreview that he was still hoping for a positive outcome for the business, which has had a turbulent journey since being sold by Jacuzzi to private investment firm HLD Capital in 2012.
Cooper and the administrators at Leonard Curtis were not available to comment at the time of publication.
At the beginning of the year, Cooper admitted that Astracast was in the process of being wound up after major production problems at its factory in Malta, but he was still hopeful for the future of the business, reaching out to investors and potential buyers.
He said: “The process we’re in at the moment gives us a bit of time. So if something was to come to fruition, then it’s not too late. But there are lots of potential outcomes and I don’t want to speculate at the moment.”
An American consortium that had been close to buying the firm before Christmas got cold feet at the 11th hour and pulled its offer, according to Cooper. He said he didn’t know the reason why the deal failed after five months of discussions.
Cooper said winning orders had never been an issue for Astracast, pinning the firm’s latest financial troubles on the unexpected and, in the end, overwhelming challenges of relocating its UK factory to Malta.
He said Astracast had a good set of prospects for 2019 and would be “devastated” if the business didn’t end up delivering on them.
This is the second time the firm has gone into administration under Cooper. The first time was a prepack arrangement in March last year, which saw the business continuing to trade under the new name of Astracast International Holdings Limited.
In November last year, Cooper registered a new company called Astrasinks, but speaking to kbbreview in January, he said that this company was set up to be used as the trading vehicle for the American consortium if the deal had gone through.
But, with the deal off the table, he said that the vehicle is in the process of being dissolved and struck off the register.