Auto Windscreens, which replaces and repairs vehicle glass, has entered administration after running out of cash.
Administrators appointed to the Chesterfield-based company on Monday have told its 1,100 staff to stay at home pending a sale, leaving customers to look elsewhere for urgent repairs.
The team from Deloitte said it had approached customers, who include insurers and fleet businesses, to provide cash so it could continue to trade in the short term.
The company had suffered a drop in business and IT-related delays to a restructuring programme. It recently lost a large customer and faced a winding-up petition from an unnamed creditor, leaving management with little choice but to go into administration.
Auto Windscreens is the second-biggest operator in its sector and serves major motor insurers, fleet businesses and private customers. It has a network of 68 fitting centres across the UK, 550 mobile units, a distribution centre in Birmingham and a central call-centre. Its annual turnover is about £63m.
It became a household name in the 1990s sponsoring the Football League’s Auto Windscreens Shield.
Part of Aviva, the insurance group, until 2008, it was bought by Peter Fox, its managing director, and Moguntia Invest, a German investment fund controlled by Christian Daumann, in late 2009 from Arques Industries, a German private equity house, and has yet to file accounts.
Mr Fox had been overhauling the company to increase efficiency when the problems hit. “Delays in implementation of the IT systems, coupled with lower than anticipated revenues in the final quarter of 2010, had led to cash flow pressures,” said Deloitte.
“The company had been in extensive discussions with a large number of interested parties to provide the funding required to recapitalise the business,” it added. But it was then hit by the winding-up petition.
Matt Cowlishaw, joint administrator, said: “It is extremely disappointing to see such a well-known business enter administration. The company worked extremely hard to try to recapitalise the business, but unfortunately this could not be achieved in the time available.
“We are now in urgent discussions with the key stakeholders and interested parties in an attempt to save the business. We have provided the employees with full briefings and have set up a dedicated employee hotline to help them understand their position.”
The Association of British Insurers, which represents the industry, said most insurers should have contingency plans to make sure customers received repairs in time.
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