Carphone founder's family firm Cosalt folds


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The Independent Online

Cosalt, the family business of the co-founder of Carphone Warehouse David Ross, has gone under.

The company, which was founded by Mr Ross's grandfather in 1873, said it would ask its banks to call in administrators, and had already agreed the sale of its two operating businesses, which supply North Sea oil installations.

Mr Ross tried and failed to take Cosalt private just over a year ago, and since then has been one of the largest lenders to the company. He owns 43 per cent of the equity. The shares have been suspended at 0.83p since last May. Cosalt said that it did not expect that shareholders would receive any payout from the administration process. It added that it expected that no jobs would be lost.

Royal Bank of Scotland, HBOS and Mr Ross were owed some £17m.

Cosalt said that it had "been unable to identify any alternative source of funding or to reach any alternative agreement with the company's existing lenders and the trustees of the Cosalt Group's main defined benefit pension scheme".

Mr Ross has been attacked by some shareholders for his "low-ball" takeover offer but bitterly resis- ted such accusations, saying that he had battled to save the com- pany without making a penny out of it himself.

Cosalt, which floated in 1971, derived its name from its original title – The Great Grimsby Coal, Salt and Tanning Company.