Troubled Fitzgerald Lighting seeks a buyer

ONE OF the UK lighting industry’s most recognisable brands, Fitzgerald Lighting, has been put up for sale.

Wiring linear luminaires at the company's 3,500 square metre factory in Bodmin, Cornwall. The entire facility is included in the sale.

Chartered surveying firm Eddisons has been engaged to find a buyer for the Cornwall-based manufacturer of LED panels and other commercial luminaires as an ongoing concern.

Uncertainty surrounded the future of the brand – officially known as Fitzgerald Lighting Cornwall Limited – earlier this month with sources reporting that the management is exploring entering a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), a form of protection from creditors. Fears have also been expressed about the future of the 52 employees at the company’s plant in Bodmin, Cornwall.

The sale prospectus  – dubbed ‘Project Gaslight' – reveals that in 2017 the company made a net loss (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) of £46,000 on a turnover of £6.5 million.

In 2018, it made a small profit of just £25,000 on sales of £5.1 million. Management accounts show that, for the first quarter of this year, the firm made a net loss of £68,000 on a turnover of £856,000.

Gross margin was 26 per cent, 28 per cent and 26 per cent in 2017, 2018 and the first quarter of 2019 respectively.

Eddisons describes the sale as ‘an exciting opportunity to acquire the business and assets of a well-established manufacturer of commercial and industrial light fittings’.

It describes Fitzgerald Lighting as a ‘highly reputable and long established lighting manufacturers selling to the UK, Ireland and the Middle East’. It is a ‘strong, well-regarded brand in its sector’.

It has a large customer base in both the UK and traditional export markets. Its large product range encompasses the healthcare, leisure, education, prisons and general municipal buildings. The company’s stock of components is included in the sale, as is its 3,500 square metre leasehold factory which has extensive metal-working machinery, a powder-coating line and laser-cutting machinery.

Other assets consist of goodwill, office furniture, warehouse racking, plant and equipment.

Lighting industry observers say that Fitzgerald Lighting has been facing strong competition from low-cost Chinese imports which have put enormous pressure on margins. Across the lighting industry, luminaire prices have been falling in recent years.

The first company to bear the Fitzgerald name, Fitzgerald Lighting Limited, was founded in 1978 by Peter Fitzgerald, a prominent name in the industry and a former president of the Lighting Industry Federation. That firm went into administration in December 2008.

A new company, Fitzgerald Lighting Cornwall Limited, the subject of this month’s sale offer, was established and went on to employ many of the original employees. Its managing director was Peter’s son Tim.

Both Peter and Tim are directors, as is Kuwait-based Ahsan Waris.

  • Interested parties should contact kevin.mcandrew@eddisons.com