Twenty-five companies were offered the opportunity to buy Gardman before the administrators accepted a £4m offer from Westland, it was revealed this week.
In details circulated to creditors, PwC said 20 of the firms approached were trade buyers and five financial. Seven parties submitted non-binding indicative offers for all or part of the business, with Westland and two others moving to the next stage of the “accelerated sale” process. Ten businesses declined to bid at all. Westland’s was the “best offer available”, despite a stock valuation of £7.4m.
PwC estimate that unsecured creditors could receive up to 15% of money owed. Secured creditors will be paid in full.
The sale only affects Gardman’s UK business, Gardman Ltd. Gardman (Australia) Pty, Gardman USA Iinc, Parnell Lang and The Little Garden Company – all part of Gardman Group – and the China-based Gardman Asia Limited (in which Gardman Ltd held shares) were excluded.
Westland will be allowed to continue to operate from Gardman’s leasehold warehouses in Kings Lynn and West Lynn and Peterborough head office for up to six months while they negotiate with landlords, safeguarding jobs for now.
Gardman’s shareholders called in administrators to handle the sale after declining to commit to additional funding of at least £10m needed to complete the company’s recovery following last year’s disastrous warehouse fire at Daventry.