Origin Broadband in Rotherham has 'bright future' after surviving insolvency crisis

A Rotherham broadband company has a “bright future” six months after striking a deal to manage crippling debts.

By David Walsh
Monday, 03 June, 2019, 07:56
The Old Town Hall, Rotherham.

Origin Broadband has returned to growth after creditors agreed to give up £3m of the £5m they were owed under a Company Voluntary Arrangement. The firm cut 30 jobs in December after it fell to a £7m loss in the year to March 2018 ‘due to bad debts, increased staff costs and weak cost control.’

Chief executive Oliver Bryssau said they still had the support of investors, had recruited 15 and were on track to employ a record 130 people by March. The company had moved from from a large call centre in Wath-upon-Dearne to the Old Town Hall on Frederick Street in Rotherham town centre, he added.

Oliver Bryssau, left, and Henri Wurst........Pic Steve Ellis

“We feel a sense of pride to have navigated this situation and continue to employ so many people and take on staff in Rotherham. Origin has a bright future.

“We have a vision for growth for the business over the next few years and this is the start.

“Everyone is thankful for the support of creditors. We are continuing to satisfy the terms of the CVA and the whole business has come together to deliver on it.

“There has been no loss of service for customers and there was no impact on them.”

Redundant employees’ wages’ were paid by the Redundancy Payments Office, he added.

A report by insolvency practitioner Michael Chamberlain in December stated the underlying business was strong and investors stood ready to put in another £2m.

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The firm had experienced 192 per cent growth in residential customers in 2017/18. It peaked at 36,000, up from 4,000 in November 2016.

The firm was set up by  Oliver Bryssau and director Henri Wust in January 2011.

In January last year Origin spent £2.5m on a move from Doncaster, where it had two offices, to new premises on Callflex Business Park, Wath, Rotherham.

At that time it employed 149 and rented a call centre with room for 700. Bosses said then they were on target to have more than 250,000 customers by 2020.

Origin received £5m from Calculus Capital in two funding rounds in 2017 and claimed to have the sixth largest broadband network in the UK.

Documents show that 100 per cent of Origin creditors voted to accept the CVA in December.

By far the biggest creditor was BT plc, which was owed £3.68m. Other large creditors included  media company Awin (£260,000)  and Castan Ltd (£325,000).