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By | Kelly Fiveash 22nd June 2007 11:37

Evesham poised for buyout as senior execs walk

Boss says 'every man has his price'

Exclusive: Evesham Technology has parted company with its managing director and financial director as several firms look to buy the PC manufacturer, The Register has learned.

Owner and chairman Richard Austin told us that MD Brad Walker and FD David Hards had left on good terms and that there had been no dispute over the future of the firm. He said: "We all get on famously".

He added that "there is lots of interest from several parties" looking to buy the business which is based in Evesham, Worcestershire, and has a workforce of around 300 staff.

He was unable to comment on what impact a potential buy-out could have on its workers or which firms had approached Evesham so far.

But Austin, who has been at the helm of the business for nearly a quarter of a century, bluntly said: "Every man has his price."

When asked to what extent the business can expect to be re-jigged, he explained that "restructuring at the firm has been going on for some time" and that "we're always adjusting to keep up".

Indeed, the indigenous British PC firm, which is one of the last of its kind still standing in a UK market squeezed by a significant decline in computer sales, had attempted to adapt to changing market demands by selling LCD TVs alongside its more traditional product line.

Despite this, as we reported last month, it is expected that Evesham will announce a loss of nearly £2m when it publishes its 2007 results later this summer.

Referring to the closure of the government's Home Computer Initiative (HCI) programme, Austin said "the demise of HCI has hit us very hard".

The firm had invested heavily in the HCI scheme which had provided tax breaks for employees, allowing them to hire purchase PCs through their pay packets.

At the end of last year, Evesham laid off a quarter of its workforce in an attempt to cut costs after the HCI scheme was suddenly pulled in May 2006, leaving a hefty £30m hole in the firm's accounts.®

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