Once world-renowned Northamptonshire firm Hawes Signs ‘will be no more’ from next week

George Osbourne and Michael Ellis Visiting Hawes Signs, Moulton Park. ENGNNL00120130407181206

George Osbourne and Michael Ellis Visiting Hawes Signs, Moulton Park. ENGNNL00120130407181206

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A Northamptonshire sign-making company with roots stretching back 150 years, will cease operations on Monday, sources have confirmed.

Earlier this week, the Chronicle & Echo reported how Hawes Signs Limited, based at Moulton Industrial Park, looked to be on the brink of collapse after several staff reported they were being made redundant.

The Chron has made continued attempts to contact its parent company HLD Group for an official comment, with no result.

Meanwhile a check of Companies House shows that the chief executive of HLD, Demis Ohandjanian, recently registered “Hawes Retail Solutions Limited”, at a business park in Glenfield, Leicester.

What this means is unclear at this stage, but a close source told the Chron this new company would consist of a skeleton crew of Hawes Signs administrative staff.

The site in Moulton is likely to be vacated, according to the source.

Testimonies on the “Have you ever worked for Hawes Signs” Facebook group, appear to back up the statement.

One former employee wrote: “Still in shock that place will be no more.”

And another said: “Very sad day, the end of an era. I feel lucky that I went six weeks ago and didn’t see what’s happened the last few weeks.”

Earlier this year, HLD entered into an agreement to pay back around a third of Hawes Signs’ £5.4 million debt.

The firm had to lay off 60 staff after losing around £3 million in business over two years.

In June company chairman Clive Hawes, son of founder Kenneth Hawes, painted a positive picture of the acquisition.

He said: “It’s been 16 months since we became part of the HLD Group and it has been challenging and exciting.

“The determination and capability of our team has produced some remarkable results.

“Vauxhall renewed their sole-supply contract with us for a further three years. Texaco moved from two suppliers to a sole-supply agreement with us and increased the term from three years to five years.”

HLD is rumoured to have purchased a company called Sign 2000 in Kent and moved several of its contracts over to the Tonbridge-based firm.

Little more than a year ago, Hawes Signs employed around 200 people and manufactured signs for the likes of Tesco, Asda and high street bank Lloyds.

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