Monday, October 19, 2015

News: Rea resigns from SI

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Chris Rea, OBE, founder of Rotherham manufacturer, AESSEAL, has resigned from his managing director role at Surgical Innovations Group Plc (SI), the Leeds firm that specialises in the design and manufacture of creative solutions for use in minimally invasive surgery (MIS) and industrial markets.

In June 2014, the AIM-listed firm announced that Rea had acquired an 8.9% stake in the business in a £1.6m deal that also saw the Northern Ireland born entrepreneur take a place on the board as a non-executive director. In October of that year Rea became interim managing director.

With Doug Liversidge CBE, a former master cutler, as non-executive chairman, SI has issued a number of profits warnings and carried out a strategic review of the business.

Now, Rea has resigned from both roles as interim managing director and non-executive director with immediate effect. Melanie Ross, the finance director who only began at the firm in August, has also given the company notice of her resignation, which will take effect in April.

Doug Liversidge, chairman of SI, said: "Chris has been instrumental in stabilising the Company through a difficult period. In particular he has made a substantial contribution to product development. He has worked tirelessly in the best interests of the Company alongside his other commitments and we acknowledge the pressures and frustrations that he has experienced over recent months which have led to this decision. Melanie has also made, and will continue to make, a valuable contribution to the stabilisation of the company.

Press reports highlight a difference of opinion amongst the board on the future direction of the business with Rea proposing that it de-list from the stock exchange and grow as a private company.

SI reported a pretax loss of £9.8m for 2014, widened from a pretax loss of £44,000 in 2013. This was largely due to excpetional items including on-cash impairment charges of £7.8m but revenues fell to £4.0m from £7.5m in the previous year.

With global headquarters at Templeborough, AESSEAL manufactures seals to stop leakage of harmful liquids and gases into the environment for a wide range of industries, including oil and gas, food, water, mining and pharmaceuticals. AES Engineering Ltd, parent to the AESSEAL Group, has reported its annual results for the year to December 31 2014 which showed sales of £142m down 3.1% on 2013's £146.5m. EBITDA (Earnings before taxes) rose to £25.2m, up 6% on 2013.

Whilst Rea retains a majority interest and control at AES, international investor, 3i hold a minority stake, having first invested in 1996 then increasing its stake to 40% in 2007.

Surgical Innovations website
AESSEAL website

Images: AES

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