Former directors of Anker House Group, a PET machinery and technical services company that went into bankruptcy in November, have bought back the business for an undisclosed sum.
Directors Anthony Thompson and Kevin Gallagher have set up a new company, Petform Ltd., to acquire the assets of their old firm.
The new company has 33 employees, most of them former Anker House workers.
Petform bought the assets from the bankruptcy administrator, accounting firm BDO Stoy Hayward LLC of Manchester, England.
Included in the deal are Anker PET Equipment Ltd., Anker House Exports Ltd., Anker PET Mould & Tooling Ltd. and Anker Systems Ltd.
The partners, who founded Anker House of Accrington, England, in 1996, admit they tried to expand too fast and have learned a severe lesson from the debt buildup and administration.
``The core business of contracted machinery sales was very strong. The problems arose when we got into PET mold and tooling manufacture, where considerable investment is required,'' Thompson said.
``To begin with we were able to absorb the debts, but they continued to increase and we had no fairy godmother to draw new money from. We fell into the classic trap of expanding too quickly.''
The new company will trade as Anker Moulding Systems.
Meantime, the new management team has shelved Anker's ambitious plan to expand the company into the United States. Last year the firm had announced a $3.1 million project to build a PET bottle and preform mold design and sales office in Charlotte, N.C., by this May.
Now the company is outsourcing tool manufacturing to suppliers in lower-cost regions including Portugal, Eastern Europe and Asia.
``Before, we tried to manage all the mold manufacturing operations in-house.
``Now we are accepting we need to cut labor and other costs and go overseas for components,'' Thompson said in a recent telephone interview.
Petform also has taken on a new investor and board member, Steve Young, former technical manager at Husky UK.