Gerald Simonds Healthcare stand at trade show

After almost four decades in the mobility sector, Gerald Simonds Healthcare, one the most recognised wheelchair specialists in the market, has gone into administration with the coronavirus crisis dealing the final blow to the company.

Best known as a pioneer in the lightweight manual wheelchair market before going on to champion new and innovative technologies, including being one of the first to embrace power add-ons, Gerald Simonds Healthcare was established in 1983.

In February 2019, Gerald Simonds Healthcare was sold to newly-founded Borrum Healthcare Group Ltd, headed up by Richard Boys-Stones and Bob Darke – both Partners of management consultancy & strategic investor firm Borrum Partners.

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At the time, Gerald Simonds Healthcare confirmed the sale was triggered by the retirement of its inspiration founder Gerald Simonds, who led the organisation for over a quarter of a century.

Earlier this year, Gerald Simonds sadly passed away.

Now, 17 months after swapping hands, the reputable based retailer, importer and distributor has been put up for sale after the company went into administration on the 6th July of 2020.

Mark Holborow and Matthew Wild from RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP were appointed joint administrators of Gerald Simonds Healthcare, which operates from a single unit based in Aylesbury.

RSM confirmed that 22 members of staff have been made redundant, whilst four people have been retained in the short-term to assist the administrators as a buyer is sought for the business and assets.

Mark Holborow, Restructuring Advisory director at RSM, commented: “We don’t anticipate customers being left out of pocket as we understand all deposits are held in a segregated trust account, so should be available to be returned to customers in the event of orders being cancelled.”

As part of the sale process, the administrators are seeking a buyer who will be able to fulfil outstanding orders to minimise disruption to customers.

Bob Darke, Chairman of Gerald Simonds Healthcare, commented: “I am very sad to note that despite the best efforts of directors and colleagues and all the progress that had been made in restructuring and range development, the continuing impact of Coronavirus on our business has proved irreparable.

“I would like to thank all the loyal staff, customers and suppliers who have supported the business both in recent challenging times and over the long term. Having explored all possible avenues to rescue the business, we are disappointed that we have had to bow to the inevitable and file for insolvency. We will continue to work with the administrators to support our customers and to help achieve a sale of the business and assets in the interest of the creditors.’

Mark Holborow adds: ‘It is always sad to see an established company enter into administration, but the directors were left with little choice given the impact of Covid-19 on recent trading and the resulting cashflow difficulties they faced. Regrettably, we have had to make a number of staff redundant and we will be assisting them with their claims to the Redundancy Payments Service.

‘We are seeking a buyer for the business and assets and would invite interested parties to get in contact. We anticipate strong interest in the company’s travel chair business as well as the brand name and open order book. All queries should be directed to restructuring.gatwick@rsmuk.com.’

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