Anxious wait for Mansfield workers as Maplin goes up for sale

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The future of electronics firm Maplin will be decided “in a matter of days” after bosses put the business up for sale.

The firm has a store on Portland Retail Park, Mansfield.

A spokesman said they were in advanced talks with several parties and hope to include a “solvent sale within a matter of days”.

The aim, he said, was to avoid a pre-pack administration in which a firm walks away from its debts to creditors and a buyer snaps up the assets.

He added: “PwC is looking at all the offers and is very keen on avoiding a pre-pack.”

Its headquarters are in Manvers, Wath, Rotherham, and it has more than 200 shops and 2,500 workers.

The firm had revenue of £236m in its most recent figures, the year to March 2017, up half a per cent on the year before. Cash profit was £11.3m.

The spokesman said sales were flat and the business was profitable but the company had been hit by the removal of credit insurance which had limited its borrowing power so it did not have enough cash to source suppliers.

Graham Harris took over from Oliver Meakin as chief executive in January.

The duo had drawn up a three-pronged approach to tackle the firm’s problems including cutting £10m from the firm’s costs annually, negotiating better terms with landlords and changing payment from quarterly to monthly.

And PwC had been tasked with obtaining new debt, in the form of loans, or an investor in the business.

He added: “They fundamentally believe the strategy is correct and that can win out. What is not working is the financial structure of the business. Costs are too high and the balance sheet is too weak.”

Maplin is a ‘multi-channel’ business with bricks and mortar shops and sales online It is attempting to differentiate itself from Amazon by offering a service in which it can tell customers what smart devices will work in their homes, then sell and install them .

It is owned by private equity firm Rutland Partners which bought out Montagu for £85m in 2014.