A BUILDING supplies firm with more than 1,000 staff said today it was calling in administrators after its biggest shareholder pulled the plug on a rescue deal.
Elland-based Heywood Williams - which employs 384 in the UK - needed holders of 75% of its shares to support a restructuring.
But major investor Paul Bell, who owns 27% of the debt-laden firm, voted against a deal that would have put 80% of the company in the hands of its banks.
Heywood, which supplies goods such as door panels for conservatories and brassware, has been hit hard by the housing slump on both sides of the Atlantic.
Heywood made pre-tax losses of £9.6 million in the first half of this year on revenues of £88.5 million, but was carrying £47.6 million in debts after an acquisition spree at the top of the market.
The company’s rescue plan announced at the beginning of the month would have seen Heywood would go private, with banks owning 80%, existing management 10% and the current shareholders 10%.
But Mr Bell said last week the terms of the deal were "outrageous" and that he would "rather kiss my shareholding goodbye" than see the deal go through.
He said: "The management team responsible for the mess the company is now in are delivering absolute control into the hands of the banks - and being rewarded with a 10% stake in the business and the right to keep their overpaid jobs.
"In the meantime, existing shareholders get a massively diluted stake in an unquoted company that will remain hamstrung by huge bank debts."
Since their peak in February 2007, Heywood’s shares have lost nearly 99% of their value. The company now has a market value of just £1.35 million.
Full story in Wednesday's Examiner.