Rumours and confusion have circulated in the past couple of weeks after the parent firm was placed into administration, protecting the owners from the company’s creditors.
“OceanLED’s creditors will do better out of this process than they would have out of any other process we would have considered,” Duffill said to SuperyachtNews.com exclusively. “They realise that, which is why most of our key suppliers are still working with us.”
“The commercial lighting business had some product issues, so we decided to put the business into administration, and then arrange to buy the assets of the business back,” Duffill confirmed. “Future Energy Lighting Technologies Ltd. (FELT) bought the Lietcorp commercial lighting business, and then OceanLED Marine Ltd. bought the assets of OceanLED. Under previous management, a lot of the development and financial resources were put in to developing the commercial lighting side of the business.
According to Duffill, previous management had purchased stock, including finished components, that subsequently had to be written off. “The forecasts were underachieved, rather massively, and we also had a warranty issue on the commercial lighting products,” Duffill explained. “The new company is providing replacements as and when necessary,” he said of FELT’s commitments to Lietcorp’s customers.
“On the OceanLED side, we’re covering all the warranty claims and if customers have paid, that will be looked after,” Duffill said. “By doing what we’ve done, we’ve cleaned up the balance sheet and got new investors’ money into the business, so it's far more solid than it was before.”
In the past 6 months, several senior managers left OceanLED, including the previous managing director, Simon Steadman, the finance director and the production director.
Duffill is MD of both OceanLED Marine and FELT, though a search for a new MD is underway for the commercial side. Mark Blythe remains as both chairman and the major shareholder of both OceanLED Marine and FELT. The recent appointments at OceanLED are Craig Allen as operations director from the automotive sector and Kevin Joszko as production manager.
“With this new management team, we’re going to do things to improve manufacturing efficiency, and we’re obviously going to focus more on the underlying business management so that it’s done properly,” Duffill said. “The big point for OceanLED is the return to the ocean-going business. To be fair, for the past three years, there’s been too little focus, and that was a key issue.
“The actions we’ve taken strengthens the company and strengthens its future,” Duffill said. “People have expressed concern, but when we explain we’re in a new position with a new management team, people are accepting it, because it’s a fact.”