We inherited the outlets and franchises as they were in Drambuie's time, and we are now looking closely at them. We sold the Renault dealerships because they did not fit with our market area plans, but no further disposals are planned at the moment.”
Strathclyde-based Parks of Hamilton bought Glenvarigill's Renault dealerships at Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline for an undisclosed sum. Bartlett rejects continuing industry speculation about problems at Glenvarigill more than 18 months after he led an MBO, financed by a loan of more than £20m from Bank of Scotland.
In an interview with AM last September, Bartlett admitted “taking his eye off the ball” in the way the business was run because of the time taken up finalising the MBO.
Current rumours are based on alleged late repayments to Drambuie under the MBO agreement, closer involvement of Bank of Scotland, a rapid turnover of finance directors and a delay in providing Companies House with the 2002 accounts.
Bartlett says: “A management buyout inevitably attracts attention and this industry is always rife with rumours. We are now up to date with our payments to Drambuie. There was some internal dialogue last year with our former parent although it was not caused by an inability to pay.
“Gavin Manson, finance director at the time of the MBO, left as previously agreed to return to manufacturing. Things did not work out with his successor, Andrew Jefferson, but we now have the man we want, Andrew Lamb, who is also company secretary.”
Bartlett denies that the Bank of Scotland – which has a 20% stake in Glenvarigill – insisted on a closer involvement, and that one of its directors attends all board meetings.
“We have an excellent relationship with the bank, which is committed to us long-term, and is being extremely supportive,” he says.
“The delay in filing accounts at Companies House was due entirely to pressure caused by the MBO. We are now concentrating on making Glenvarigill more profitable – of course Bank of Scotland wants that, so do all banks and businesses.”