Substantial debts and staff departures as CEO admits firm is experiencing ‘very difficult time’
Speculation over the future of Shebang Technologies Group intensified last week after ‘To Let’ signs were placed outside the distributor’s head office in Daventry.
Shebang has been based at the site since the firm was founded by Iain Humphrey and Joseph Berry in 2001.
Estate agent Lambert Smith Hampton posted the property on its website, advertising the two-floor building as available for £163,000 per year.
Rumours in the channel that the group had entered administration were denied by the firm’s managing director Duncan Hay earlier this month.
Shebang CEO Iain Humphrey confirmed the business will relocate to smaller offices in Daventry in early September as it no longer requires the space.
Staff numbers have been reduced significantly in the past year, from around 200 at their peak to just 32 today.
Sources close to Shebang have described its Daventry offices as a “ghost town” in recent months.
Mobile News has also learned Joseph Berry quit the board in July, leaving Humphrey as the sole director. Berry is the eighth director to quit in the past 18 months (see boxout, left).
Humphrey confessed the firm is going through a “very difficult time” and will now focus on its MVNO, Go Mobile 4 Everyone – its only remaining business.
The MVNO, which runs off the Three network, is being sold in around 100 Go Mobile retail stores, which Shebang sold to A1 Comms in June.
Humphrey said: “We have been working through various problems over the past couple of months and it has been a very difficult time, but we’re dealing with them.
“We have a lot of hard work ahead of us over the next year but we feel quite confident about what we can do with the MVNO.
“The premises we are in currently are too big for the number of staff we have. The lease was coming to an end on that building and we are moving to smaller premises in Daventry to concentrate solely on our MVNO business.”
The Shebang Group business has been slowly dismantled over the past year.
At the beginning of 2011, Humphrey restructured the business into six different divisions, operating under the Shebang Technologies Group name, to provide greater clarity on its offerings.
But in May this year, Humphrey told Mobile News he “absolutely regretted” the move, claiming it provided little benefit to the businesses and that it segmented too many people.
In March, Shebang Consumer Solutions was issued with a winding-up order and went into liquidation on April 5. Sources close to the firm claim it owed HMRC around £800,000 in unpaid VAT.
Shebang Logistics Solutions has also ceased trading, with a creditors’ meeting taking place on July 31. The same sources claim Shebang owed HMRC around £350,000 in unpaid VAT, and accessories distributors Santok and Peak £350,000 and £90,000 respectively. Humphrey refused to confirm or deny the exact details of the monies owed for legal reasons.