Printer distributor Qudis was plucked from the brink of receivership in a last-minute rescue by SCH on Christmas Eve.
It is understood the #40 million firm was forced to sell up as several of its vendors had refused to supply stock during December after a year of abortive attempts to find investors. Its top two suppliers, Hewlett Packard and Xerox, are reported to be owed more than u1 million combined.
Qudis and its vendors were in negotiations with SCH for just two weeks before the deal was finalised. One supplier, who did not wish to be named, said: 'We were all holding back on stock. They would pay what they could and we would then release goods on those terms.
'For us to release what they really wanted, to make sure the new company got off to a good start, meant we had to make sure we were fully backed and covered.'
Another supplier remained anxious. 'It was a pretty tight thing. We are still waiting for confirmation about Qudis' financial state.'
Paul Simpkin, MD at SCH's distribution arm ETC, put his holiday in the Bahamas on hold to rush the purchase through. 'If we had walked away and come back after Christmas the conversation may have been different. We wanted a company which was still trading. It was a frustrating time for the sales people because they had no stock,' he said. Simpkin refused to say whether ETC had honoured all of Qudis' suppliers' debts. 'We came to an amicable agreement,' he said.
According to SCH, the Bracknell-based distributor, will be run as a separate subsidiary. David Ives will remain as Qudis MD subject to the firm's performance.
The purchase marks SCH's second distribution acquisition during the past three months. It bought Data Translation in October. Qudis made a pre-tax loss of #1.3 million on turnover of #37.8 million for the year ended 31 May 1995. Tom Lloyd, MD of Lexmark, said: 'It could have been disastrous, but we all had to reach a compromise and are satisfied with the outcome.'
SCH said it would be looking to cut costs at Qudis, but refused to elaborate.
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