Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Collapsed solar firm purchased

Construction group Gentoo has bought a manufacturer of bulletproof glass and solar panels after it went into administration in the wake of cashflow and accounting woes.

Romag Holdings, which is based in County Durham, was sold to Ask The Genie, a subsidiary of property group Gentoo.

The company identified cashflow problems and suspended its shares after an investigation into a £4 million payment ex-chairman John Kennair made to one of its divisions without informing the board.

When Mr Kennair stepped down as chairman in February, Romag said it was experiencing significant demand for its products, particularly solar panels, and had a strong forward order book.

But it was unable to secure further funding from its bank - Lloyds - and its trade and assets, including 160 staff, have been transferred to Ask The Genie.

Romag supplies transparent material - glass and plastic - to security, renewable energy, architectural and specialist transport markets.

It is one of only two solar panel manufacturers in the UK.

Mr Kennair remains chief executive at the company, a position he took up in 1975. He was awarded the MBE for services to the specialised glass industry in 1990.

Sunderland-based Gentoo is a construction company, housing developer and the main registered social landlord in Sunderland, managing and maintaining around 30,000 properties.

Peter Walls, Gentoo chief executive, said: “We believe the low carbon market will continue to be a strategic area of growth and this puts us in a unique position to take full advantage of opportunities in our sector.

“Solar energy is a huge agenda with global governmental targets and it is great to be playing a part in it whilst doing our bit for the planet in the process.”

Romag appointed KPMG to investigate the payment Mr Kennair made to the company and decided the previous year’s results would have to be restated.

Mr Kennair, who owns around 12% of Romag, is understood to have told the board he made the £4 million payment in the second half of 2010 to cover bad debts but acted in the “interests of the company”.