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Rescue plea for 150 workers as Avocet Hardware falls into administration

Hardware and fixing supplier Avocet Hardware was placed into administration today.

Andrew Stoneman and Ben Wiles, from the global restructuring advisory practice at financial advisory and investment banking firm Duff & Phelps, were appointed joint administrators of the Yorkshire-based firm.

Avocet employs 150 and is owned by the current management team after a private equity-backed management buyout in November 2007.

Mr Stoneman said: “Discussions are ongoing with a number of different parties who wish to acquire all or parts of the business.

“This is a fantastic opportunity and anyone who is interested in the business should contact us immediately for further information. We are actively trying to identify a buyer and to rescue the jobs of the employees.”

The news comes after PwC released research recording more than 5,000 construction-related insolvencies in the last two years.

Avocet was established in 1978 and operates through three UK divisions: Builders Hardware, which supplies fixings, fasteners and general ironmongery to the UK DIY retail sector; a door and window hardware division; and a high security lock division.

The firm sold its loss-making Chinese factory last month, which manufactured products for the door and window hardware division.

Mr Stoneman said the company had been hit by by losses from the Chinese operation and the insolvency of a major customer. He said the UK hardware and fixing market is estimated to be worth about £220 million per year.

Avocet director Ian Jones added:  “This has been a tough trading period as we have experienced a major contraction in the UK DIY market compounded by the insolvency of one of our largest clients.

“We are hopeful a buyer will be sought and we are working closely with Duff & Phelps to ensure we reach a satisfactory outcome for all concerned.”

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