Caparo refutes crisis claims

Posted on 16 Jul 2010 by The Manufacturer

British engineering company Caparo, founded by Lord Paul of Marylebone, has hit back against “various malicious reports” in national newspapers which called into question its financial health.

The reports, which Caparo says were spearheaded by the Mail on Sunday newspaper, included allegations that the company had broken the terms of its existing loans by borrowing too much and suggested that its future hinged on obtaining new funding from banks. The Daily Mail said Lord Paul had “admitted” the claims were true. The reports also pointed to the fact that Caparo made a £3m loss in 2008 despite revenues of £861m.

Caparo has fiercely denied the claims, suggesting the journalist at the Mail on Sunday and other parts of the media hold a vendetta against the company.

Angad Paul, Caparo’s chief executive and the company founder’s youngest son, said: “Is it necessary to remind anyone that from August to December 2008 the financial sector suffered a “blood bath”, which then led to the most rapid downturn in manufacturing industry? Indeed it is a credit to Caparo’s management that we exited that year with a relatively small loss. We should not forget that this was a time when the world’s banks failed and many much larger companies were perceived to be bankrupt.

“It is a shame that what is now very much the historical position of 2008 was the focus of the article. While the diligence of the Caparo team worldwide at the time resulted in Caparo weathering the storm in an exemplary fashion, the world has moved on since then.”

He said the company has now returned to profitability and expects to exceed its 2007 performance this year in terms of revenues.

“Let me assure all of our team, our customers and suppliers that we are on course and will continue to go from strength to strength.”

Lord Swraj Paul is now chairman of the group. He said: “It is sad that this politically motivated article appeared in the financial pages of a newspaper. I did not respond to the journalist’s enquiries because it was obvious that his mind was made up to be mischievous which, unfortunately, for the last year I have got used to. Anyone with genuine financial understanding would realise how far back in history these accounts are; when the company has been operating for a year and half since the date of these accounts, to suggest that this is something new or current is misleading at best. It was obviously timed to coincide with the family’s annual party at London Zoo, which I am delighted to say went off very well with almost 1,500 guests enjoying the afternoon.”