LONDON — British jeweler Theo Fennell has collapsed into administration, the British equivalent of Chapter 11, the accountancy and business advisory firm BDO confirmed Friday.
The failure of his business is the latest in a string of companies that have shuttered over the past 12 months including Jaeger, Austin Reed and BHS. The struggling Agent Provocateur was purchased earlier this year by Four Marketing.
Fennell launched the high-end brand in 1982 and was known for his use of sorbet-colored gemstones and bejeweled cross, key and horn pendants. Popular with the London social set, Fennell’s collections also included objets and homeware, such as picture frames and silver ketchup bottles. His creations have been worn by celebrities including Naomi Campbell, Elton John, Elizabeth Hurley, Elle Macpherson and the Beckhams.
Fennell stepped down as creative director in 2009 and ceased to be involved in any operational management. Instead, he took on more of an ambassadorial role and consulted on design.
The brand went public on London’s AIM market. In 2013, a consortium of private investors acquired the brand. They included Jon Moulton of Better Capital, Sir Keith Mills and EME Capital, who bought the company in a deal valued at 2.9 million pounds, or $4.4 million.
Based in London, the company employs 54 people and, according to BDO, “it has been necessary to make some limited redundancies and work closely with management to continue to service its valued clients while a long-term solution can be found.”
Matthew Tait and Colin Haig, have been named joint administrators of Theo Fennell Ltd.
Tait, BDO business restructuring partner, said the decision to file for bankruptcy protection was due “unfortunately to the financial burden of certain fixed costs that have weighed heavily upon the company as it implemented its own restructuring plan.
“While the market has remained strong for fine and luxury goods, the cost and pace of that restructuring could not be supported by the company indefinitely. Given the long-established reputation, the company has built for fine craftsmanship, it is not surprising that we are already in receipt of a number of expressions of interest.”
The company did not respond to phone calls during press time. It operates a flagship in Chelsea, London.
According to the latest accounts filed on Companies House, the official registry of U.K. businesses, Theo Fennell notched a pre-tax loss of 2.5 million pounds, or $3.2 million, on sales of 9.6 million pounds or $12.5 million, for the year ended Jan. 31, 2016.
The business review noted: “The strategy for the year was to significantly reduce the losses incurred in the previous year while maintaining the sales. This was in line with the objective of returning the company to profitability by 2018.”