Landgard UK chief quits after fall of Focus

Richard Egerton resigns after Focus debt exposure revelations as suppliers find creditors are unlikely to recover losses.

Landgard has shareholder backing - image: HW
Landgard has shareholder backing - image: HW

Landgard UK managing director Richard Egerton has become a high-profile victim of the collapse of DIY/garden centre chain Focus after he left the plant supplier, which is owed more than £2.5m by Focus.

Non-executive chairman Jim Floor confirmed Egerton was in the process of resigning after the German owners realised the size of the Focus debt - some £2.5m.

Floor, who is stepping in as commercial director to run Landgard UK day to day, added: "The shareholders and chief executive have pledged 100 per cent support for the UK business. Unfortunately, Richard has resigned."

A new report from administrators at Ernst & Young shows hundreds of trade creditors across the UK are expected to be £60m out of pocket, while HM Revenue & Customs will take a £7m hit.

The report by Simon Allport, Tom Jack and Alan Hudson shows that when the Crewe-based company collapsed in May its private equity owner Cerberus was owed £214.7m. Ernst & Young said the creditors were unlikely to recover any of their losses.

The sale of Focus assets is expected to generate more than £43m. Ernst & Young has sold 55 of the chain's 178 stores to Kingfisher, Wickes and B&M Retail. Wickes and B&M will take on 536 of Focus's 4,000 staff. Almost all of the remaining 123 stores have been closed.

Gardman, Sinclair and Forest told HW they had taken steps to minimise exposure. Scotts UK general manager Martin Breddy said: "This was a significant loss but our UK market share stands at an all time high and this should drive recovery in 2012."

Chessum Plants sales director David White said after selling its sales and marketing operation to Landgard UK in February 2010 it was not owed anything by Focus, despite the company being listed as owing £745,000 in the creditors' list.

RISK ASSESSMENT

"We're only a small creditor when you look at the numbers involved. I think all the suppliers were in this with their eyes open, given that credit insurance was removed so long ago. In a difficult marketplace we are all inclined to take turnover wherever we can, but we set a limit to the exposure we were prepared to take."

Peter Woolley, sales and marketing director, Doff Portland

"We get credit insurance with just about all of our customers. Other companies have provision for bad debt. If you can't get credit insurance you take your own view on the risk. Retention title, payment days and letters of credit are part of this. We trade some stock through wholesalers who invoice so the debt lies with them and they owe us the money."

Danny Adamson, retail managing director, William Sinclair

GARDENING SUPPLIERS AMOUNTS OWED AFTER FOCUS COLLAPSE

Bayer Garden £170,000
De Ree UK £213,000
Deroma UK £257,000
Doff Portland £37,000
Draper Tools £217,000
Einhell £465,000
Fiskars UK £476,000
Fiskars Brands UK £421,000
Forest Garden £599,000
Garden Centre Plants £134,000
Gardman £299,000
Haemmerlin £44,000
Highland Heathers £44,000
Hozelock £1m
Husqvarna £2m
Landgard (Trading Account) £223,000
Landgard UK £1.5m
Li-Lo Leisure £405,000
Meredith Nurseries £1.5m
Mr Fothergill's £146,000
Plant Sarus £281,000
Plant Sarus (Trading Account) £126,000
Proteam £2.7m
Scotts Company UK £5.9m
Sinclair £46,000


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

Trees and Shrubs - Planting benefits

Trees and Shrubs - Planting benefits

The message that health, the environment and business all benefit from trees is finally getting through, but are nurseries seeing an upturn? Sally Drury reports.

Arbutus

Arbutus

These evergreen trees and shrubs have decorative bark and can flower and fruit simultaneously, says Miranda Kimberley.

Four Oaks Trade Show 2018 - Product Solutions

Four Oaks Trade Show 2018 - Product Solutions

The latest products have all been designed to make growing more productive and to help sell more plants, says Sally Drury.


Opinion... Democracy is a hindrance to good place making

Opinion... Democracy is a hindrance to good place making

A farmer close by the small village of Green Hammerton in North Yorkshire is promoting his farm as a site for 3,000 new homes. It is slap-bang in the middle of the countryside at the mid-point between York and Harrogate.

Opinion... How to increase UK plant supply

Opinion... How to increase UK plant supply

Why don't UK growers produce more of the plants that the UK market demands?

Opinion... Co-operation is industry's best card

Opinion... Co-operation is industry's best card

What a great trade this is when one of us needs help. "The Container Revolution" co-operative exhibit at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is a good example.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Horticulture Week Top 60 Ornamentals nurseries

See our exclusive RANKING of ornamentals nurseries by annual turnover plus the FULL REPORT AND ANALYSIS

Tim Edwards

Boningales Nursery chairman Tim Edwards on the business of ornamentals production
 

Read Tim Edwards

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world
 

Read more Peter Seabrook articles