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Sangs and Calanike director speaks out as Allied Irish Bank (AIB) places companies into administration


By The Drum Team, Editorial

January 17, 2012 | 3 min read

The director of water brand MacB’s parent company Sangs and petrol chain Calanike, Kenny Webster, has spoken out against the actions of the company’s bank Allied Irish, which yesterday, without warning, called in the company’s debts.

“To say that this has come as a shock is more than an understatement,” said Webster.

“To say that this has come as a shock is more than an understatement,” said Webster. “Allied Irish decided to put Sangs into administration with almost immediate effect, giving us absolutely no opportunity to discuss it with them, or find an alternative solution, despite our pleas. That would be shocking enough but given that Sangs is a company in profit, in growth, with (despite information to the contrary) no cashflow issue and has never defaulted on a loan interest or supplier payment, I am completely at a loss to understand why they’ve done this.

“AIB also used a cross-guarantee to put Calanike in receivership. Previous to this, they had never once discussed the health of the company with us – this is a company that has net assets valued at almost £5 million, an excellent credit rating and, in our last financial year, profit before tax of £192,000.

“Together with my team, I’ve poured my heart and soul into these businesses and to have them ripped away like this without warning is beyond heart-breaking. But more than that, I cannot see how AIB can possibly defend their actions. They’ve put jobs on the line of more than 250 people without giving us the opportunity to refinance, which we could easily have done. They even knew about plans to sell Calanike, which would have totally cleared our debt.

“How on earth can this be described as responsible banking? I always believed that if you did the right thing – made sure payments were made on time, staff were taken care of, you turned a profit and were an ethical businessman – then things would be fine. We’ve even been in active talks with other organisations to grow sustainable employment in the North-East, an area we’ve been deeply committed to. I’m absolutely furious - not just for me, but for every member of staff we employ.

“I’m working with my lawyer, accountant and Zolfo Cooper to investigate all possible options regarding the future of both companies," he concluded.

The news of Sangs' administration broke last night hours after it was revealed that Peacocks and Past Times were also to enter administration.


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