PC Science plunged into administration last week, leaving a debt ofseven months. up to £8 million following demands from Barclays Bank and the Yorkshire Bank.
KPMG confirmed that it had been appointed as administrative receiver for the company. The statement added that there would be redundancies among the 180 staff with at least half the staff likely to go. PC Science staff were told on 7 July that the management had been relieved of responsibilities.
Peter Terry, joint receiver at KPMG, stated: 'It is clearly early days, but I am hopeful that we can sell the business as a going concern.'
Despite winning the Asda PC contract (PC Dealer, 3 March), PC Science was reprimanded by the ASA, dumped by Argos and has had to sue its motherboard supplier Protac over compatibility issues. The system builder is under investigation by the Trading Standards and Office of Fair Trading (OFT).
A representative of the OFT said: 'We are waiting for KPMG to inform us of the state of affairs. At present, the investigation is ongoing.' She added that if another company was to buy PC Science, the OFT would still continue its investigation.
Charles Forsyth, founder of the company, has recently taken on the role of sales and marketing director, following the appointment of James Bailey in April as managing director, Forsyth's previous position. Bailey left his previous job as chairman and chief executive of Ultima Networks following a review of company activities in December 1998.
A source said: 'Forsyth has had four companies go bust. He sold his last venture, Multiplex, for £1 to a partner, six months before the company went under.'
A representative from Asda said: 'We are not receiving deliveries from PC Science. At the moment, we are not looking for a new supplier. We understand there are a number of interested parties looking at picking up the company.'
Nitin Joshi, director at Pannell Kerr Forster, said: 'We were unaware of the company being in such trouble. We were chasing a debt as administrators for Osmosis in the region of £100,000.'
Steve Bennett, managing director of Software Warehouse, said: 'I've been in business for 10 years - Forsyth's been in and out of it four times in that period. Every time a company goes bust, it paints a terrible picture of our industry to the banks and trade insurers.'
Richard Hind, ex-technical director of PC Science, added: 'It's a real shame that this has happened to a company that was, until recently, doing so well.'
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