Safestyle UK: Nearly 700 jobs lost as glazing firm with huge Barnsley factory goes into administration

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Nearly 700 staff have been made redundant just weeks before Christmas after a double-glazing business with a huge factory in Barnsley went into administration.

Safestyle UK's factory in Wombwell, Barnsley. The company has ceased trading and been placed into administration, with most of its 750 staff being made redundant. Photo: GoogleSafestyle UK's factory in Wombwell, Barnsley. The company has ceased trading and been placed into administration, with most of its 750 staff being made redundant. Photo: Google
Safestyle UK's factory in Wombwell, Barnsley. The company has ceased trading and been placed into administration, with most of its 750 staff being made redundant. Photo: Google

Safestyle UK is headquartered in Bradford but has a large manufacturing facility in Wombwell, Barnsley, and a network of 42 sales branches and installation depots across the UK. It was confirmed today, Monday, October 30, that it has ceased trading and been placed into administration.

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Staff were reportedly told on Friday, October 27, that they no longer had a job, as the company announced its intention to call in the administrators and suspended trading in its shares.

'Pressures exacerbated by unseasonally warm September'

On Monday, it was confirmed that Rick Harrison and Will Wright, from Interpath Advisory, had been appointed as joint administrators to H.P.A.S Limited, trading as Safestyle UK, Style Group Holdings Limited and Style Group UK Limited.

In a statement, the administrators said: "In common with a number of companies across the home improvement sector, Safestyle UK has had to navigate a number of pressures which have impacted trading, including high cost inflation, ongoing economic uncertainty and fragile consumer confidence.

"In recent months, these pressures have been exacerbated by an unseasonally warm September, which has dampened customer demand.

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"In response to these challenges, the Group engaged with stakeholders to explore a range of options to help strengthen its balance sheet, including a capital injection or new financing, a potential sale of the shares in the subsidiaries and/or a sale of the business and assets of the subsidiaries.

Majority of 750 Safestyle UK staff made redundant - what support is available?

"Unfortunately, despite interest being shown by a number of parties, a solvent solution was unable to be found, and the directors took the difficult decision to seek the appointment of administrators.  

"The Company directly employees circa 750 employees. Regrettably, with trading ceasing upon the appointment of the joint administrators, the majority of staff have been made redundant. Circa 70 members of staff have been retained by the administrators in the short term to assist with an orderly wind-down of the business."

Rick Harrison, managing director at Interpath Advisory, added that the news would be 'particularly devastating' for the firm's employees and the many self-employed contractors who worked on behalf of the company.

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He said: "Our immediate priority will be to provide support to those impacted by redundancy, including supporting them in making claims to the Redundancy Payments Service where relevant."

GMB Union says 'urgent answers' are needed

The GMB Union said a 'crunch meeting' with UK workers was due to take place today, Monday, October 30.

Lee Parkinson, GMB organiser, said ahead of the meeting: "More than 600 workers have been cruelly cut off from work, weeks before Christmas, with no guarantee that they will even get last week's pay-check.   

“The impact of this closure upon the community of Barnsley cannot be overstated. It is simply devastating.   

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"We need urgent answers on where the money has gone. GMB will be on site with our members on Monday to demand those answers."

What announcements did Safestyle UK make?

On Friday morning, Safestyle UK had shared an update on its website saying that it had been trying to secure a proposed sale but it had become increasingly unlikely that even if a sale was completed it would result in any return to shareholders. Because of this, the company said, it had asked for its shares to be suspended from trading with immediate effect.

At 6.26pm that evening, the firm posted a further update saying that the interested parties that had been involved in the proposed sale process had 'withdrawn their respective interests'.

The company added that this meant it had concluded it was 'no longer able to continue trading as a going concern; and intended to appoint administrators.

What is the advice for Safestyle UK customers?

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The administrators said that as Safestyle UK had ceased to trade, orders would not be fulfilled by the company in administration.

They added: "The administrators continue to explore the possibility of selling certain business and assets to a third party. In the event of a successful sale, customers may be entitled to have their orders completed by the purchaser.

"In this scenario, the Joint Administrators will seek to update customers via the Company’s website and Interpath’s insolvency portal."

Below is further advice which the administrators have issued to customers.

What happens if I’ve booked an installation? 

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Customers who have booked an installation, but have not yet paid a deposit, are advised that the installation will not be performed by the company in administration and the order is cancelled with no payment due. If you have agreed finance on your planned installation, please contact the finance provider to understand how this agreement can be cancelled.

What if my installation is part way through? 

Customers who are mid-way through the installation process are advised that, regrettably, the company in administration is unable to complete the installation, and as such, they will need to seek alternative installers. In this circumstance, customers will not be charged by the company in administration for the remaining balance owed. 

What if I’ve paid a deposit and not yet had my windows installed?

Customers who have booked an installation and who have paid a deposit are advised that the installation will no longer go ahead by the company in administration. Customers are advised to contact their credit or debit card provider with a view to making a claim for their deposit under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.  

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If a customer has paid a deposit in cash, unfortunately this will not be repaid to them. A customer should visit the Interpath insolvency portal (see “being alert to scams” section below) and fill out a “proof of debt” form and send this to [email protected].

Note that these claims will be an unsecured claim in the administration, and at this stage we are not able to confirm if there will be a pence in the £ return on any claims submitted (and this will take some time to establish).  Reports will be issued to creditors of the company via the Interpath insolvency portal that will provide more detail (the first report being within eight weeks of our appointment).

Who is my finance provider?

Your order details will identify Novuna Personal Finance or Omni Capital Retail Finance as your finance provider. Please contact them on the number provided on your order form or the contact details in your finance agreement.        What if my windows have been fitted and I have a warranty issue (now or in the future)?

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Customers who have had windows fitted but are experiencing a warranty issue should contact the warranty insurance provider, Installsure.  

Note however that if payment for your installation is set-up via a finance provider, please contact your finance provider in the first instance.

What happens if I’m paying for my windows via monthly payments?

Customers who have had windows fitted and who are paying via a payment plan should continue to make their payments as usual. Those customers who are paying for their windows on finance should continue to continue to do so and if unsure, contact your finance provider.

Being alert to scams

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Note that if there is a sale of the company’s business and assets to a third party, the joint administrators will make this clear via the Company’s website and Interpath’s insolvency portal (search “Interpath insolvency portal” in your search engine, and then search “HPAS Limited” in the portal).

No one from Interpath Advisory or the Company in administration will contact you to complete the installation of your windows or seek payment for the same. You should only speak to your finance provider about your finance agreement.

Do not give details of any claim or any personal or bank account details to anyone who approaches you alleging that they work for the FCA, Interpath Advisory, the Joint Administrators or the Company, or otherwise.  

If you do require assistance or are unsure as to the validity of any correspondence you have received, please contact our customer help email address on [email protected]. Please note in the event we experience a high volume of enquiries; it may not be possible to respond to your query immediately.

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