Final cycle: Monotub founder buys back firm for £1

Rachel Stevenson
Tuesday 31 December 2002 01:00
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Monotub industries, the troubled washing machine manufacturer, has announced plans to put itself into voluntary liquidation and sell its assets and intellectual rights to its original inventor for £1.

Martin Myerscough, the founder of Monotub and former chairman, had hoped to revolutionise the washing machine world with the Titan model, which has a removable drum for easier loading and can be stopped mid-cycle.

But technical problems delayed the machine's launch last year and production of the washing machine was brought to a complete halt in January, only four months after launch with only 60 machines sold.

Since then, Monotub has been trying to find a buyer that could get the Titan machine back in production. Talks with one possible partner foundered in October, sending shares in the company to 2.25p.

Mr Myerscough stepped down as executive chairman of Monotub in March and resigned as a director in November. Through his own company, Titan Limited, Mr Myerscough will buy the assets and rights to the Titan machine and is investing £250,000 in the business to restart production. Under the terms of the offer, which is still subject to shareholder approval, a royalty of £4 will be paid to Monotub shareholder funds for every new washing machine sold throughout its 15-year patent.

James Hayward, Monotub's finance director since April, said the company had received offers from seven parties in the past two months but Mr Myerscough's bid was the best deal for shareholders. He said liquidation should cost no more than £15,000 a year.

The company yesterday posted a six months operating loss before tax of £3.5m, from a loss of £1.8m in the same period last year.

Shares in Monotub floated at 152p on Alternative Investment Market in September 1999 and scaled as high as 670p before the launch of Titan. Shares closed at a new record low of 1.25p yesterday. "We kept the company going for as long as was possible on very little resources," said Mr Hayward, who is likely to remain as a non-salaried director of Monotub. "We scouted the market and this was the simplest solution for shareholders."

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