[Uploaded to BikeBiz.co.uk on 2nd October]
While a mixed bunch of pin-striped suited gents and disgruntled Sturmey Archer workers gathered in the reception area of Smith & Williamson, secret negotiations were taking place in an adjacent meeting room to try and prevent the liquidation of Sturmey Archer.
Barry Robinson the Grantham gambler who lists his address as Las Vegas had earlier sacked Paul Smith (Sturmey FD) and Colin Bateman (MD) and appointed himself and a colleague as the only board members. Now in full control of Sturmey, Robinson wanted to apply to the High Court in London for Sturmey to go into administration to give him breathing space to rescue the company.
In with Robinson in the meeting room aside from a phalanx of accountants and solicitors was Tony Murphy, the insolvency practitioner advising Sturmeys now ex-directors (and also the IP on In A Flap Limited, the other current Lenark liquidation).
Murphy told the assembled crowd that the creditors meeting would not be one as such and would be over very quickly.
Oh no it wasnt.
Emotions were high; accusations flew all over the place and an adjournment had to be arranged to see if Robinson would back down from seeking administration, which would tie the company up in months of probably doomed rescue effort.
In the end, a partial back-down occured with Sturneys liquid assets of £800,000 being frozen.
More details on todays dramatic events will be uploaded tomorrow. This includes an interview with Barry Robinson. I walked him to the train station and he agreed to give his side of the story. There will be no comment from Derby, however; Simon Goddard, group financial controller of Derby in the UK said, No when I asked to have a few words with him.