Note: Since this story was published, administrator appointments have been made at WN V-Tech Holdings Limited and its subsidiaries including Treka Bus Ltd and WN V-Tech Ltd, which uses Mellor as a trading name.
Mellor and Treka Bus parent WN V-Tech Holdings has filed notice to appoint an administrator, private equity owner Rutland Partners has confirmed.
A sale process for the business is now underway by advisory firm Teneo. A spokesperson for Rutland says that Teneo is “actively engaged with a number of parties that have expressed interest in the whole and parts” of WN V-Tech Holdings, and that “all efforts are being put into bringing this process to a successful conclusion.”
It is understood that potential administrators arrived at Treka Bus’s plant in Brighouse on 16 November. Completed vehicles are on the locked-down site. The previous day, a number of employees with WN V-Tech in Scarborough are said to have approached another vehicle manufacturer in the town in search of work.
WN V-Tech Holdings CEO Frank Barrett remains with the group, Rutland has confirmed. The business’s most recent accounts, for the year to 31 December 2022, show a loss after tax of £2.6 million on a turnover of £78 million.
The year closed with a record order book in hand. £4.9 million was spent on product development during 2022, much of which is understood to have been absorbed by the Mellor Sigma range of battery-electric buses. No material uncertainties relating to the going concern consideration were identified by the independent auditor.
Mellor is a trading name of WN V-Tech Ltd, a subsidiary of WN V-Tech Holdings. WN V-Tech Ltd, including its car division, recorded a loss after tax of £3.6 million on a turnover of £45.5 million in 2022.
Treka Bus – ultimately a subsidiary of WN V-Tech Holdings Ltd – recorded a profit after tax of £609,000 on a turnover of £11.7 million, although the latter figure was less than half of the 2021 turnover. Difficulties in base vehicle supply has been cited as a contributor to that decline.
Rutland Partners took a controlling interest WN V-Tech Holdings in March 2020. It noted then that the step “an exciting opportunity for Rutland to invest in a scale UK business operating in sectors likely to be robust and the focus of long-term stability and interest.” Rutland invests in businesses requiring £10-50 million of equity, its website states.
At that time, Mr Barrett described Rutland as “the perfect partner on the next stage of our journey,” adding that sustained investment was expected under its ownership. Since then, major growth for the Mellor brand has been achieved, while Treka Bus has continued to build accessible minibuses.