Time marches on with proposed DSO deal

The financial collapse of Granville Technology Group, the parent company behind the Time Group in the UK, will have ‘no impact whatsoever’ on Time Group Middle East’s plans to invest US$40m in an assembly facility at Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) according to a company spokesperson.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  July 27, 2005

The financial collapse of Granville Technology Group, the parent company behind the Time Group in the UK, will have ‘no impact whatsoever’ on Time Group Middle East’s plans to invest US$40m in an assembly facility at Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) according to a Dubai-based company spokesperson. “Time Group Middle East Limited is a totally separate entity from Granville Technology Group,” claimed the spokesperson. “The situation in the UK will have no impact whatsoever on the proposed investment in a facility at DSO.” DSO announced earlier this year that Time Group Middle East limited would invest more than US$40m during the next five years to construct a new assembly facility at DSO with a production capacity of more than one million units per annum. Construction of the 260,000 square foot facility, which will focus on the assembly of PCs, LCD monitors and plasma TVs is scheduled to start in January 2006 with the first phase of development completed by the year-end. A contractual agreement was signed by H. E. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of DSO and Tahir Mohsan, chief executive officer at Time Group Middle East Limited. Speaking at the time of the announcement, Mohsan said: “The primary reasons for selecting Dubai in general and DSO in particular lies in the proximity to growth markets, excellent infrastructure and logistics, the ability to meet increasing customer demands and access to a readily available workforce in a very competitive tax free operating environment.” Andrew Hosking, Martin Ellis and Les Ross of Grant Thornton UK LLP have been called in as joint administrators for Granville. Some 1,600 jobs are expected to be lost in the UK as a result of Granville’s collapse. "The Group has fallen victim to the continued price deflation in the personal computer market, exacerbated by a softening of consumer demand in recent months, and pressure from suppliers. These redundancies were therefore inevitable,” commented the administrators. Grant Thornton has also revealed that Granville has been losing US$3.5m per month since the start of 2005 and as such there will be no attempt to sell the business as a going concern. Granville Technology Group manufactured approximately 500,000 units a year in the UK, selling Time and Tiny branded PCs through major UK retailers including Tesco, Asda and Woolworths as well as through its own showrooms. According to UK reports, the company has abruptly closed its 78 retail outlets and started laying off staff at its Burnley factory. All Granville directors apart from its part-time chairman resigned recently and the company has so far failed to file accounts that were due in April 2005 with Companies House. Mohsan, who owns a majority stake in Granville through offshore companies based in the British Virgin Islands and Jersey, resigned as managing director of the company last year.

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