Black Velvet Travel drivers called off a planned revolt over unpaid wages after Adam Smith took over the company

Velvet will retain its name and fleet of purple buses

Velvet will retain its name and fleet of purple buses

First published in Hampshire Business
Last updated
Andover Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter

A HAMPSHIRE bus company is back on the road two weeks after it went bust thanks to the completion of a takeover deal.

Velvet - which traded as Black Velvet Travel Ltd - went into administration on July 16.

But last night administrators announced new owner Adam Smith had signed a rescue deal securing its long term future.

Mr Smith - who is understood to be involved with Surrey-based company Buses Excetera - had stepped in to run the services temporarily after the company went into difficulties with 25 jobs at risk.

He has promised to retain the Velvet name and will continue operating routes A, S1, S2, B4, M and 503.

It came as a relief to employees who had been plotting a revolt after not being paid up to six weeks wages.

A statement released last night by administrators Chantrey Vellactott said: “Adam Smith, who has many years of experience in the bus industry, has completed a deal to take over the company, two weeks on from stepping in to run services on an interim basis.”

Chantrey Vellacott restructuring specialist Terry Evans added: “We're delighted a deal has been completed - safeguarding the long-term future of Velvet buses, its bus services in the community, along with jobs.”

“We appreciate the support and patience of all parties involved in this process and we are confident Black Velvet Travel is now well placed to move forward.”

It is understood that current employees - who stayed on during the troubles - were told they would receive outstanding wages by 6pm last night.

But it is not yet known when former workers who left the company after fearing their jobs were at risk will receive their cash.

Velvet began operating six years ago but ran into financial difficulties due to increased competition.

Former director Phil Stockley thanked staff and wished the new owners well.

He said: “I am very pleased for the staff customers and suppliers that there is a way forward and I wish them every success.”

As reported by the Daily Echo, Robert Ings, co-owner of Brenhaul Commercial Services, which maintained Velvet buses was owed tens of thousands of pounds for repairs and services and had previously blockaded Velvet buses in its depot over a previous financial dispute.

Last night he said the new firm has paid an instalment towards the debt and has negotiated a long-term plan to eventually pay them.

Mr Ings said: “I wish the new owners best of luck and hopefully we can build a new relationship.

Eastleigh MP Mike Thornton hailed it as “fantastic news” and added: “It's excellent that they've come forward “I hope they provide a good service for good value.”

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