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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 July, 2005, 15:49 GMT 16:49 UK
Two more furniture firms sold off
Cambria Mobel

Two more furniture companies in the troubled Christie Tyler group have been sold, receivers have announced.

Wyvern Furniture and Earlybird Furniture, both based in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, have been taken over by management, saving more than 200 jobs.

The Cambria Mobel factory in Pontypridd has already been sold off.

Mike Rollings, of receivers Ernst and Young, said: "We are continuing to look at potential buyers for the other businesses and remain hopeful".

The group has eight plants across the UK, employing 1,500 workers, most of them in Wales.

Earlier, a MP raised concerns about the way the Pontypridd plant had changed ownership.

The Cambria Mobelwas sold quickly, saving 400 jobs, to a firm headed by Christie Tyler's former chief executive.

While experts say this practice is perfectly normal, Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price is concerned it could leave the rest of the business more vulnerable.

Adam Price MP
If you take away the profitable bits of the business then you don't need a degree in accountancy to understand that what's left is less attractive
Adam Price MP

The man who was the chief executive of Christie Tyler around the time it went into receivership, Scott Malvenan, is also chief executive of Sofa Brands International, which has bought the Pontypridd plant.

'Maintain jobs'

Mr Price, MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, said he believed it was wrong for a company executive of a failed business to be able to form a new company and buy a profitable part of his old one.

He said that although selling the Pontypridd plant may have saved 400 jobs, it could well have endangered the rest of the business.

"In most circumstances, it is always easier to sell a going concern if it's kept integrated as a whole.

Christie Tyler lorry
Christie-Tyler, South Wales West Division Bridgend 478
Deeside Furniture, Holywell 420
Cambria Mobel, Pontypridd 391
Lebus Furniture, Scunthorpe 391
Wyvern Furniture, Kidderminster 181
Earlybird Furniture, Kidderminster 59
CT Distribution, Blackwood 40
Christie Tyler, Bridgend 32

"If you take away the profitable bits of the business then you don't need a degree in accountancy to understand that what's left is less attractive to any potential buyer and it's less likely to be able to save the jobs and salvage the rest of the business.

"Let's hope it still might be possible to maintain the jobs that are left in the company."

'Future success'

However, Nick Hood, from an independent corporate recovery and insolvency practice, said a deal like this is not uncommon business practice.

He said: "It's perfectly normal practice, it always rankles with creditors but the trouble for the administrator is he has to keep all emotion out of this situation and he has to say what is the best deal for the creditors".

Mr Malvenan released a statement on Tuesday saying Sofa Brands International was a group of companies formed from a restructuring of the Christie Tyler group, and was "strong and viable".

He said the company specialised in the manufacture of brand and private-labelled upholstered furniture from locations in the UK and Thailand.

Sofa Brands International owns the businesses of Derwent, including Leabrooks, Duresta, G Plan and the Parker Knoll brand and a new company based in Treforest, near Cardiff, had been formed.

He added: "We believe the market will remain challenging, but we are in a strong position to work together with our customers, suppliers and employees to ensure our mutual future success."

Politicians urge 'hope and help'
04 Jul 05 |  Wales politics

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