Hexcite Group business Kesslers in administration

Richard Stuart-Turner
Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Retail display specialist Kesslers International, part of the Hexcite Group, has gone into administration due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the retail sector and cost inflation.

Kesslers began trading in 1888
Kesslers began trading in 1888

Michael Lennon and Philip Dakin, both of Kroll Advisory, were appointed as joint administrators of the Stratford, East London-based business on Friday (17 December).

The company began trading in 1888 and is the UK’s oldest POP designer and manufacturer. It provides bespoke POS retail equipment, including design, technical engineering, manufacturing, installation, and post-campaign customer service. It serves a number of UK and international retailers.

None of Hexcite’s other businesses are affected and the group’s private equity fund owner Elaghmore told Printweek they are all “trading well” and that the decision to place Kesslers into administration was “difficult” but will ensure the rest of the group continues to grow.

Andy Ducker, founding partner at Elaghmore, said: “As a business focused on designing, manufacturing, and installing display units for retail stores, Kesslers has faced unprecedented challenges over the last two years, leading to substantial losses. While there has been some pickup in demand from retailers, it remains highly volatile.

“Coupled with significant increases in the cost of raw materials and the rent on its manufacturing facility in East London, we have reluctantly concluded the business is no longer viable. As a result, Kesslers has been placed into administration. The other companies that form the Hexcite Group – Blaze Signs, Cygnia Maintenance, and Gardners – are performing strongly, and we look forward to helping them to grow.”

160 staff worked at the £25m-turnover business as of 17 December and the majority of these have now been made redundant according to the administrators.

Joint administrator Lennon said: “Attempts to diversify and grow the business through an outsourced supply model were not delivered successfully and it has not been possible to return the company to profitability.

“The continued underperformance in trading and rising costs has resulted in a weakened cashflow position which has led to the appointment of the joint administrators. The joint administrators have taken steps to restructure the trading operations, which has resulted in 125 redundancies.”

The administrators intend to work with the remaining employees to complete “a limited number of existing customer orders” while marketing the remaining business for sale. The administrators are also supporting those employees made redundant as part of this process.

Details on the company’s assets and the size of its secured and unsecured claims were unavailable at the time of writing.

Hexcite Group was created by Elaghmore in 2019. It acquired Blaze Signs in September 2020. Another Hexcite business, Shopfittings Direct, went into administration in November 2019. In June this year the business appointed a new group chief executive, Wes Mulligan.

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