The smallest of the three Wales-based contract cycle assembler/manufacturers currently has 22 staff sitting at home twiddling their thumbs because of a flurry of bailiff visits and a factory lock-out ordered by the Welsh Development Agency. Bikedirect Europe isn’t in trouble, though, claims the Kiwi co-owner, it’s an innocent party caught in the middle of a rent squabble between the WDA and Easthill Enterprises Ltd, former UK distributor of German-made Corratec bikes

Production hiatus at Bikedirect Europe Ltd.

In September 2001, with the assistance of the WDA, Bikedirect Europe, a trading name of Easthill Enterprises, expanded and moved 12 miles from Vastre Enterprise Park in Newtown to Parc Hafren Enterprise Park in Llanidloes. It moved into a building owned by the WDA. The lease was taken out by Easthill Enterprises Ltd., signed for by Easthill/Bikedirect’s Frank Clavis.

Bikedirect Europe Ltd. was formed in April 2002.

Director of Easthill and Bikedirect Europe Ltd. is bikebuilder Frank Clavis of New Zealand. The co-director in Easthill Enterprises is Clavis’ wife, Nickie.

The co-director, and fifty percent shareholder, of Bikedirect Europe Ltd. is Richard Taylor, latterly of KAOS Enterprises, his own, small contract assembling business. Taylor has also worked for British Eagle (in its Newtown days) and LewWays. He joined Frank Clavis in April when an off-the-shelf company was turned into Bikedirect Europe Ltd.

Taylor is trying to negotiate with the WDA to protect the 22 existing jobs. He said Bikedirect Europe Ltd. had a full order book. Despite having nothing to do with Easthill Enterprises he has recently paid some of its debts in order to placate bailiffs and the WDA.

Prior to the landlord’s lock-out – which started on Monday – the WDA had refused to transfer the lease from Easthill Enterprises to Bikedirect Europe Ltd. The WDA want Easthill’s rent arrears paid first.

Frank Clavis told that Easthill Enterprises is in dispute with the WDA over the rent owed, originally £4000, now much more. He blames the WDA for a flood at the Parc Hafrens unit but said that the WDA “didn’t like my Kiwi style, we don’t like woolly words. I’m upfront.”

Clavis estimates the flood – and other services failures – to have cost Bikedirect Europe a month’s worth of lost production, which impacted on Easthill’s cashflow. He also blames his wife’s heart attack six weeks ago on what he calls the WDA’s “broken promises.”

Bikedirect Europe Ltd. is targeting to assemble 75 000 bikes this year, said Clavis, and has recently received an EU anti-dumping exemption certificate so will not pay duties on its assembled bikes.

Richard Taylor is today writing explanatory letters to Bikedirect’s customers and is enclosing copies of the solicitor’s letter sent to the WDA, reiterating that Bikedirect Europe Ltd has nothing to do with the Easthill Enterprises debt and that 22 jobs are at stake if the lock-out continues.

Clavis said he has resigned as a director of Bikedirect Europe Ltd. in order for the matter to be settled without him as an "impediment."

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