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Polar Tech goes under after stock swiped

Insurance payout came too late

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Update Award-winning Stockport, UK-based PC maker Polar Technology closed its doors on Friday, with the loss of 15 jobs, after almost all of the company's stock of PCs, notebooks, servers and components was stolen.

An insurance payout expected promptly after the eight-year-old company was burgled failed to materialise leaving the business unable to trade, Polar MD Matthew Pipe said, according to the UK system builder trade organisation the PC Association (PCA).

Polar was targeted by thieves over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. On Saturday, the company's phone line was attacked, presumably to take out the security alarm system, which operates via the phone network. According to Pipe, BT fixed the line, and the alarm company was notified. With a mobile network back-up connection in place, the companies' premises were deemed secure.

The following night, the thieves raided Polar's HQ. The alarm was not tripped, and so the Police were not alerted. That gave the burglars time to make off not only with Polar's stock but a 7.5 tonne lorry stolen to carry it all away in.

According to Pipe, the company's insurer initially led him to believe the loss would quickly be made good. However, the apparent failure of the alarm system seems to have caused the insurer to delay the payout.

"From what the insurance company originally told us, we expected that they would pay out promptly, thus allowing us to continue in business," said Pipe. "Having spoken with our advisors and expecting everything to be almost back to normal within a short time we were advised not to mention the issue to our suppliers, and continued to trade from retained funds, not buying for stock, only to fulfill customer orders."

However, the delayed payout led to an inability to pay certain creditors, which prompted credit insurer TI to warn other suppliers that they may be at risk if they continued to extend credit to Polar. That warning persuaded Pipe that without the payment, the profit-making company would be unable to continue trading.

Polar's administrator is Pauline Shepherd of Grant Thornton Chartered Accountants. She can be reached at Grant Thornton at Heron House, Albert Square, Manchester, M60 8GT. ®

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