A rescue deal has been brokered for stricken double glazing firm Everest that will preserve around 1,000 jobs and mean existing orders for windows and conservatories are completed.
The windows firm, based in Cuffley in Hertfordshire, was plunged into crisis in March when the lockdown made it impossible for staff to make sales and installation visits to customers’ homes.
Everest has been been sold back to its private equity owner Better Capital via an insolvency procedure known as a “pre-pack” administration. However, the company said 188 redundancies were being made across the business.
Alistair Massey, a partner at FRP, the advisory firm that handled the sale, said Everest was an “iconic British brand” with an enviable market position in its specialist field.
“In the face of incredibly challenging trading conditions in recent months, the business required restructuring to ensure a sustainable future,” he said. “This deal secures a significant number of jobs and personal livelihoods for many affiliated roles.”
Everest works with around 600 self-employed fitters.
The deal will involve the transfer of 413 full-time jobs in manufacturing and sales to new trading company Everest 2020 which has taken over the order book. Better Capital is investing £3.2m in the new vehicle.
Everest has made losses for several years, with the last set of accounts filed at Companies House showing a £9.3m loss on sales of £105m for 2018. The company has 18 distribution centres as well as two factories: in Sittingbourne, Kent, and Treherbert, Wales.
Massey said the deal also achieved continuity for customers who “have had their orders and deposits secured by this deal and who the company is now prioritising for service and installation”.
The turmoil at Everest adds to the woes of Better Capital, which has decided to quit the Stock Exchange after a run of poor results. The turnaround investor was established by former Alchemy Partners founder Jon Moulton but failed to live up to its name with a string of high-profile company failures including City Link and Jaeger.
Better Capital bought Everest for £25m in 2012 and in a statement warned the fund’s next accounts would show a “material write-down” of the value of the investment.