Increased turnover planned for 'rescued' Doff Portland

Insecticides, slug pellets, weedkillers and garden products manufacturer Doff Portland is aiming to increase its turnover by 50 per cent over the next two years following a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).

New owner 151 Products, which plans to reach £100m turnover by 2015, bought a "distressed" Nottingham-based Doff last month (HW, 18 December 2012) on the condition the CVA went forward. Doff had a £6m debt, including £3m owed to unsecured creditors, and a net asset value of less than £1m.

151, the UK's largest manufacturer and supplier of discount household, garden and DIY goods, said its support for the company was conditional on obtaining stakeholder consent for a restructuring of these debts.

This month, 95 per cent of trade creditors supported the CVA. 151 said it has now committed more than £1m to the Doff group.

Managing director Richard Shonn, who is a member of the Doff board, said it is business as usual at Doff and he now hopes to increase turnover from £9m to £13m by 2014 by winning back contracts and launching new products.

He blamed Doff's debts on poor contracts, overpaying, a lack of new products and the "drag of being in business for 60 years and carrying too much dead weight".

Shonn said Doff's factory in Nottingham is state-of-the-art and 151 will be able to operate it more efficiently by making it a year-round operation by manufacturing 151 car-care and household products out of season.

Doff currently supplies Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Wilkinson but it lost B&Q last year, partly because of Doff's lack of credit insurance, said Shonn.

He added that with 151's credit insurance now in place for Doff, he hopes to win back B&Q in 2014. He admitted that previous creditors "took a haircut" with the CVA but had been running a "risky business" because Doff was operating without credit insurance.

Shonn pointed out that Doff is seen as a cheap brand but said he wants to alter that perception. He also plans to promote Doff into independent garden centres.

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