BUSINESSMAN Carl Smith certainly isn’t feeling the Christmas spirit – after he was left thousands of pounds out of pocket when another firm went bust.
Carl, who runs Fibre Moulds UK in Leyland, was commissioned to make five large fibreglass stars for a shopping centre Santa’s Grotto.
The 13ft by 13ft stars are currently in pride of place in Manchester’s Arndale Centre.
But Carl is owed £7,000 for the job after the company which outsourced the work entered administration.
Fuzzwire, based in Keighley, West Yorkshire, sub-contracted Carl to do the job for the Arndale.
FRP Advisory partners were appointed as joint administrators yesterday.
Administrators said they will do their best to help all owed money but Carl believes he is unlikely to receive payment.
The 28-year-old said: “I’m only a one-man band and I’m not going to get any money.
“We might just be able to make it through, but its going to be a real struggle, as I have not paid myself a wage over the past few months.
“The money for the job was going to go towards us moving to a more practical, bigger workplace but this is now not going to happen.
“This has really stopped the business expanding and growing.”
Carl added: “I have done work for them in the past and never had any problems. They were delivered on October 28 and payment was due on November 28. I have been chasing since then.
“I took it upon myself to go and speak to the MD. He said they can’t afford to pay.
“It took three months to manufacture the whole project. It is quite a lot of money just gone.
“It is the biggest setback I’ve had.
“I wanted to use the money to set up in a new unit and employ someone.”
Carl has been running Fibre Moulds UK for the past two years at Longmeanygate in Leyland.
FRP Advisory LLP is currently assisting the firm.
Andrew Sheridan, partner at FRP Advisory, the restructuring and advisory firm, said: “Fuzzwire has suffered over the past few weeks from a sharp deterioration in its financial position which put unsustainable pressure on the company’s cash flow.
“Despite efforts to attract external investment or to sell the business as a going concern, no buyer has emerged, resulting in its directors being forced this month to take the regrettable decision of making redundant all staff employed by the company.
“The company employed a total of 109 staff, including 65 full-time and 44 part-time workers and employed the services of 78 self-employed workers to assist with the installation of decorations.”
He added: “It goes without saying that we have huge sympathy for the former employees who have not been paid in December, particularly as we are in the run-up to Christmas.
“We have a duty to all creditors and our immediate focus as joint administrators at FRP Advisory will be to assist the former employees in processing their claims which will in turn be submitted to the Redundancy Payments Service, although we recognise it will take approximately six to eight weeks before former employees receive any of their entitlements from the RPS.”
David Allinson, centre director at Manchester Arndale, said: “Manchester Arndale contracted Fuzzwire Ltd to create and procure the Santa’s Grotto display and we can confirm that Fuzzwire was paid in full in accordance with that contract.
“Fuzzwire then sub-contracted part of its work for the grotto’s creation to Fibre Moulds UK, and we understand Fuzzwire has not paid for this work.
“We sympathise with Fibre Moulds UK at this time.”
Fuzzwire was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.
All of Fuzzwire’s contracts with shopping centre owners around the UK relating to the installation and removal of Christmas decorations have been assigned to MK Illumination Ltd, a design and display company.