Former owner of collapsed caravan retailer ‘shocked’ at plight of firm

The former owner of stricken Chesterfield- and Worksop-based Robinson’s Caravans has said the first he knew about the firm entering administration was when he read it in the press earlier this week.

David Robinson said he was “shocked” to read of the demise of the firm he sold to MBH Corporation in 2019 in an £8.6m deal. In February, MBH Corporation collapsed.

Robinsons Caravans sells new and used caravans and motorhomes from two sites in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, and Worksop, Nottinghamshire.

On Monday, we revealed that cost of living pressures had brought down the Chesterfield site, following the appointment of administrators from Interpath Advisory on March 14.

On Thursday (March 21), David Robinson contacted to express his dismay at the news.

He said: “We sold Robinsons Caravans in 2019 to Paul Seabridge to be paid over an agreed period. Unfortunately, shortly after Mr Seabridge was unable to maintain the payments and at this time he introduced us to MBH Corporation, a PLC listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange with the outstanding debt transferring to a bond maturing in 2025.

“When we sold the business it was solvent having unencumbered assets of around £4m, 74 staff and had been trading profitably since its formation in 1963.”

The administrators said that while certain companies across the Robinsons Caravans group have been historically profitable, others have experienced lower than expected sales volumes in the wake of the cost-of-living crisis and pressure on household disposable incomes. This in turn served to place financial pressure on the wider group, which in recent times had become “increasingly unsustainable”.

Robinson added: “On the 23 February we learned that the directors of MBH intended to file a notice of appointment at court on 26 February. We hoped this wouldn’t affect the business’s within MBH such as Robinsons.

“It was a shock a short time after to hear in the press that Robinsons Caravans had already been put into administration. We are extremely surprised that the administrators did not contact us at any time.

“We are extremely sorry for all our loyal employees, customers and suppliers that are affected by what has happened to the business and we look forward to the outcome of the administrators investigations into what has gone wrong since we left the business in 2019.”

The Worskop site has since been sold to Storebon Holdings, part of the Couplands Caravans group.

While nine members of staff based at the Robinsons Caravans site in Worksop have transferred to the purchaser as part of the transaction, the Robinsons Caravans site in Chesterfield is not included in the transaction and will close with immediate effect – with 16 jobs lost.

Interpath Advisory has declined to comment.