Boss of redundancy-hit broadband company says it's '˜company and creditors first'Â

The boss of a crisis-hit broadband company says he had to put 'company and creditors first' after cutting 40 jobs.Â

Thursday, 13th December 2018, 10:32 am
Updated Thursday, 13th December 2018, 10:35 am
Co-founders Oliver Bryssau and Henri Wust at Origin Broadband's headquarters at Callflex Business Park Manuvers, Rotherham. Pic Steve Ellis.

Oliver Bryssau, chief executive of Origin Broadband, said: 'No one likes to see these things happen but unfortunately you have to make sure you put creditors and company first.'

He spoke after the Rotherham firm made 40 of 108 staff redundant and applied for a '˜company voluntary agreement' which would see creditors give up debts of £3m.

The rescue plan comes after the fast-growing firm plunged to a loss due to '˜bad debts, increased staff costs and weak cost control.'

Call centre worker Billy Hancock, aged 24, said his redundancy was rushed and he was 'chucked out of the building in the rain without time to arrange any way of getting home.

'It has ruined Christmas for many, leaving them unable to buy they children presents or even afford a Christmas dinner.'

Since then the firm had hired a security company and put a guard on the door, he added.

Mr Hancock also said he was a '˜universal agent' taking calls on technical support, billing and customer service, which he claimed was a sign of a failure to invest in specialist training.

Another call centre worker said the firm was poor at cancelling accounts, in some cases, leading to it taking money when it shouldn't and, in some cases, being slow to make refunds.

He added: 'They took us into a one-to-one meeting and told us we were '˜provisionally successful or unsuccessful' and we were scored against our peers which caused needless tension and hostility in the call centre.

'˜Now as a single father I am to find some money from somewhere to get my little daughter Christmas presents.' 

A report by insolvency practitioner Michael Chamberlain states the underlying business is strong and investors stand ready to put in another £2m.

It states unsecured creditors states would receive £2m of the £5m they are owed under a CVA, more than if the firm went into administration or insolvency.

It is understood a '˜pre-pack' deal, in which the sale of a firm is agreed before it goes into administration, shedding all of its debts, would be much more disruptive than a CVA, especially with key suppliers.

Creditors will vote on the proposal on December 20.