The news two weeks ago that Norbain, the UK’s largest distributor of security products, had gone into administration sent the security industry reeling.
SecurityNewsDesk has had 18,000 reads of its Norbain stories, over 100 links to LinkedIn and dozens of direct comments from readers – an indication of the overwhelming interest in this story.
It shouldn’t have come as a shock to anyone, given that the old company had been making significant losses in previous years. However, the rapidity with which it was put into administration and then sold to the new owners, Newbury Investments, has raised a few eyebrows in the industry.
And it has left many manufacturers in limbo waiting to find out how much money they can recover for stock that was shipped to Norbain, in some cases just days before it went into administration.
We understand some manufacturers are owed hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Norbain: The story so far
Their options for recovering money are two: wait in line with the rest of the creditors to see how much money can be realised from the liquidation of the old company, or appeal to the new company, Norbain SD Ltd, for a settlement.
It’s in the interests of the new company to settle with certain suppliers to keep in their good graces, but Newbury Investments may see this as an opportunity to get rid of some suppliers which don’t fit into the new business strategy.
Whatever that may be, because it’s not clear at this point what the new business strategy is.
Norbain SD blames Norbain’s financial losses on the economic downturn, but customers and sources within the company point to a management that was slow to respond to a changing market and had gained a reputation as being primarily a “box shifter”.
There were also persistent complaints about its website which one SecurityNewsDesk reader described as “one of the worst e-commerce websites out there”.
In an attempt to answer some of the nagging questions around the administration and acquisition, Norbain issued a short, but sadly uninformative question and answer document on Friday morning which we have posted to our website this morning.
Questions that remain unanswered at this point include:
- What is the strategy for the new company, Norbain SD Ltd?
- Which product lines will it retain and which ones will it let go? A related question to that is, which suppliers will the new company compensate for losses under the old company?
- What is Norbain’s strategy toward its own-brand products – Vista, Xeno and SupaVu?
- What’s the new strategy regarding technical support for customers?
- Precisely what time and date did the old company go into administration? And when was it acquired by Newbury Investments?
We have been assured by Norbain’s press office that we will be granted an interview with the managing director, Barry Shakespeare, soon.
Please send us your questions and we’ll be sure to put them to the company.