Buy-out saves Thorns Group

Supplier Thorns Group has been rescued from the brink of bankruptcy by a management buy-out, led by the former plc's managing director Graham Langley-Jones.

The company called in administrator Baker Tilley in late March after it was unable to attract new finance due to its historic debt burden.

Langley-Jones and former operations director Joe Frazer have agreed with Baker Tilley to purchase the business for a seven-figure sum despite being two of its largest creditors.

Paul Seeney, who ran the Classic Technical Services division, is the final member of the three-strong management buy-out team. They will run the business under a new company called Castle Stanton, but it will continue to be known as Thorns Group.

"We had invested heavily in expanding just as the events industry entered an extremely tough period," said Langley-Jones. "We were also saddled with large unexpected costs to meet health and safety requirements following our move to new premises in 2003. Both myself and Joe Frazer have lost substantial amounts of money that we had invested in the business, but by taking this action we have been able to protect the jobs of our staff, meet all the commitments to our valued customers and in addition will have a stronger operation in the future."

Thorns Group currently has operations in London, Manchester and Birmingham and comprises four divisions - Thorns Furniture and Catering Hire, Camden Exhibition Services, Classic Technical Services and Camden Special Events.

Key supplier contracts for the company include the recent John Smith's Grand National at Aintree, the Chelsea Flower Show and the Cheltenham National Hunt Festival.

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