1,100 jobs at risk as screen firm collapses

Around 1,100 jobs are under threat after the UK’s second largest windscreen repair and replacement firm collapsed into administration.

Auto Windscreens called in administrators Deloitte yesterday after suffering trading and cash-flow woes.

The majority of staff employed by the Chesterfield-based group had already been sent home while Deloitte held “urgent” discussions to try to secure the future of the firm.

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Deloitte said no redundancies had been made, but added it had asked employees to stop working as it was unable to continue trading until financing is in place. It has approached major customers in the hope of drumming up enough funding to be able to keep trading until it finds a buyer.

Auto Windscreens, which has an annual turnover of around £63m, operates a network of 68 fitting centres across the UK, 550 mobile units, a distribution centre in Aston, Birmingham and a central call centre.

Deloitte said it had been leading a recovery plan but was hit by delays in implementing IT systems and lower-than-expected revenues in the final quarter of 2010.

The group had been holding talks with a number of parties but was dealt a final blow when a major customers ended its contract as it received a winding up petition from a large creditor.

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Matt Cowlishaw, partner in Deloitte’s reorganisation services team in the Midlands, said: “The company worked extremely hard to try and recapitalise the business, but unfortunately this could not be achieved in the time available.

We are now in urgent discussions with the key stakeholders and interested parties in an attempt to save the business.”

Customers of Auto Windscreens are being advised to make alternative arrangements with another supplier. Deloitte has also set up a hotline for customers to call on 01246 223000.