Leading saddlery company ceases trading

  • One of Britain’s longest-running equestrian businesses, Barnsby Saddlery, has gone into administration.

    The company, which was founded in 1873, has now stopped trading and has made its 26 members of staff redundant.

    The Walsall-based firm— formally known as Jabez Cliff Limited — hit major financial problems at the end of last year (news, 16 January). It announced just before Christmas that it had made seven members of staff redundant and had agreed a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) — which allows a company to pay back debts over a fixed period — with all its creditors.

    At the time, the firm told H&H its financial difficulties were not due to falling sales, but were because of cash flow issues and debts.

    Andy McGill, from finance firm Smith & Williamson which is handling the process, said that directors had worked hard over the past six months to “turn the business around”. The company had hoped to be able to boost its international sales to increase profit.

    “Unfortunately, market conditions have proved too tough and opportunities have not matched their expectations,” said Mr McGill.

    The brand also sponsored high-profile riders, including eventers Mary King (pictured top) and Laura Collett and showjumper Guy Williams.

    Despite the company telling H&H it would continue to support its riders in January, all deals have now been ended as part of the process.

    “I’m very kindly sponsored by Equipe saddles now,” Laura told H&H. “They have measured up all the horses and the saddles are in the process of being made.”

    Smith & Williamson will now try to sell the business’ assets to recoup money for creditors.

    Mr McGill is hopeful that the “strength and reputation” of the brand will mean that Barnsby can continue in some form as part of the equestrian market.

    This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (26 June, 2014)

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