Insolvency in Japan hits Walsall offshoot

AN INJECTION-moulding company based near Walsall has been forced into receivership following the failure of its Japanese parent company, which itself was a victim of the Asian financial crisis, writes John Willcock.

Showpla (UK), which supplies components to the car industry, employs 150 people and has annual sales of pounds 10-pounds 12m. Its parent, Showa Plastics, entered a "rehabilitation process" under Japanese insolvency law on 14 August, which in turn prompted several of the British susbsidiary's clients and suppliers to lose confidence in Showpla.

Corporate recovery partners William Tacon and Kim Rayment of Ernst & Young were called in as receivers by Showpla's management, and are confident of they can sell the business as a going concern.

When customers heard that Showa was in trouble, a number of them repossesed the dies used by Showa's 19 giant injection moulding presses, said Mr Tacon. It is common practice for customers to own the dies used by suppliers in the injection-moulding industry.

Showpla was set up 10 years ago to supply Japanese electronics and auto companies operating in the UK.