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By | Kelly Fiveash 11th February 2009 00:47

Evesham Technology confirmed dead

End of the road for UK system builder

Evesham, the defunct British computer maker, has been dissolved following a lengthy administration.

A Companies’ House document has revealed that Evesham Technology Ltd, Evesham Technology Holdings Ltd, and Mertec Evesham Technology Ltd moved from administration to dissolution status on 30 January 2009.

"All assets of the companies have now been realised." according to the report penned by DTE Leonard Curtis joint administrators JM Titley and A Poxon.

The administrators had tried to recover assets from a “motor racing car” understood to belong to Evesham Technology’s previous owner, Richard Austin. But they were unable to secure an appropriate buyer.

“After an initial review of the asset was completed, an offer was received that was pursued by the administrators,” reads the report.

“Unfortunately a sale was not completed and our agents advised that the costs involved uplifting the vehicle outweighed any likely realisations from a forced sale scenario. Subsequently the asset has been abandoned."

Administrators pulled in a small sum of money from a company Evesham Technology had previously invested in.

It said £1,000 was expected to imminently arrive from Bentley Jennison Business Solution Ltd, in which Evesham Technology held a 10 per cent stake. DTE noted that it was unable to raise value from shares in the firm that is now known as RSM Bentley Jennison, because it "is currently not profitable at this time".

Claims from employees for unpaid wages are being dealt with by the Redundancy Payments Office, which has received a “preferential claim in the sum of £62,685.76".

But there was no money to pay out to preferential creditors due to "insufficient funds," which probably explains why the firm has been dissolved rather than shifted to voluntary liquidation.

Time UK founder Tahir Mohsan's Dubai-based outfit PCC Technology, which on 1 August 2007 mounted an apparent $22m (£11m) rescue package for Evesham Technology just 48 hours before it went into administration, has already been paid £4.1m from the sale of the land and buildings.

Decline and fall

Administrators arrived at the firm’s headquarters at Vale Park in Worcestershire on 3 August 2007 following months of speculation that Evesham Technology was in serious financial trouble. More than 100 staff were asked to immediately leave the premises on the bleakest day in the company's 24-year-long history.

It emerged that Evesham Technology went bust owing creditors nearly £7m.

At the time Austin blamed the sudden closure in May 2006 of the government's Home Computer Initiative (HCI) programme for a serious dent in the company’s turnover.

It was a very different story in April 2006, when Austin told Channel Business: "Fortunately for us we have our feet in lots of different ponds. We are not totally dependent on HCI; it is only 12 or 13 per cent of our turnover. It is really not going to cripple us." HCI provided tax breaks for employees, allowing them to hire-purchase PCs through their pay packets.

In February last year, Mohsan put the Evesham Technology Ltd brand up for sale: it had continued trading under the Evesham Micros Ltd name. That move swiftly followed the departure of Austin, who was the company's co-founder and chairman.

But no buyer had stepped forward by August 2008. So creditors agreed to an extended administration run.

As of today, the Evesham Technology brand appears to have completely ceased trading. A visit to the Evesham.com website eventually brings up an ominous timeout page.

Life after death

But late last year there was a glimmer of hope for Evesham Technology customers. Step forward Tewktech, which was recently formed by a group of former Evesham employees.

The firm offers customers free email support and said that where a remote fix wasn't possible, it will collect and repair Evesham Technology machines at its facility in Tewkesbury.

"It is very apparent that many customers do not know of the closure of Evesham [Technology] and that their warranty is now invalid," said the company's technical director Matt Habershon last December.

"The goal of Tewktech is to reach out to every customer and reassure them that there is a helping hand when they need it."

Evesham's Vale Park HQ is now occupied by new owners Foster and Freeman Ltd, which develops and manufactures a wide range of scientific instruments for police and forensic boffins.®

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