Office supplier says 'not on verge of collapse'

6 July 2009

07 July 2009 | Jake Kanter

One of Britain's biggest office product suppliers has denied reports it is on the brink of collapse.

The company is hopeful of receiving "new finance from a new institutional shareholder".

Vasanta Group, whose subsidiaries include Supplies Team and VOW, said yesterday that "much" of the media speculation over the company's financial health was "alarmist and misleading".

The Sunday Telegraph suggested the firm had lined up an administrator after its key suppliers had credit insurance withdrawn.

Vasanta CEO Richard Martin said in a statement the company had - like many others - experienced a "substantial" downturn in sales and "severe" reduction in trade credit insurance.

He added: "For some weeks the Vasanta board has been in discussions with its shareholders and lending banks to effect a restructuring of its finances. These discussions are now at an advanced stage and are likely to involve the introduction of new finance from a new institutional shareholder. We continue to have the support of our lending banks."

Martin added he was "confident" the company would "reach a satisfactory outcome within a very short while and will then be well-positioned for the future".

Supplies Team recently secured a three-year deal with NHS Supply Chain for an online office supplies catalogue system. Computer and printer supplier ISA - another arm of Vasanta - has customers including Tesco, Sainsbury's and Boots. Headquartered in Sheffield, Vasanta competes with foreign-owned multinationals such as Staples, Office Depot and Lyreco.

Last week risk adviser Aon said supplier financial failure poses the greatest risk to global supply chains (Web news, 2 July 2009).

SMjul2009

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