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Smallbone's parent company falls into administration

November 2018

According to a recent report by Sky News (26th Nov) Canburg, which owns the Smallbone of Devizes, Mark Wilkinson Furniture, and Brookmans brands, has filed a notice of intention to appoint Grant Thornton as administrator.

This news places a dark cloud over the future of three of the UK’s leading luxury interiors brands; renowned for hand-crafting a sophisticated range of bespoke fine furniture.  Hundreds of skilled jobs are thought to be at risk.

The news represents a blow to the £2.5 billion Business Growth Fund (BGF), the vehicle set up by Britain's biggest high street lenders in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.  The BGF invested £8 million in Canburg in 2014 in return for a 20% stake.

If the furniture-maker does collapse, it would be one of the most prominent corporate failures to have been backed by the BGF since it was set up.

Sky’s sources said that Canburg had been struggling for some time, and had been exploring a potential sale in recent months.  The parent company recently parted company with Leo Caplan, its chief executive, and appointed Ian Gray as its executive chairman.

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