Scottish Government '˜fully aware' for some time of Kaiam's potential collapse
SCOTTISH government ministers had more than a month's notice that tech firm Kaiam was on the brink of collapse, according to millionaire boss Bardia Pezeshki.
He says he alerted Scottish Enterprise that the firm was facing difficulties on November 15, and ministers were informed a week later.
Almost 350 workers at the firm’s factory in Livingston, West Lothian, were shocked to learn on Dec 21 that that they wouldn’t get their Christmas pay, and then on Christmas Eve that the plant was to close, and almost all of them were out of work.
Labour MSP Neil Findlay has now called for a parliamentary inquiry into the Scottish Government’s dealings with Kaiam.
He said: “As I fully expected, there is much more to the Kaiam story than meets the eye. It has now emerged that the Scottish Government via its agency, Scottish Enterprise, appear to have been fully aware for some considerable time that this company has been in serious difficulty.
“After being informed on November 22 that Kaiam was in serious difficulty, the Scottish Government appears to have done nothing, leaving 300 families with no wages or job at Christmas.”
Kaiam chief executive Dr Pezeshki, 52, boarded a flight home to California, USA, just before workers were told they wouldn’t receive their December wages.
The enterprise agency had previously handed Kaiam £850,000 of public money when the manufacturing of computer parts was moved from China to Scotland in 2014.
Scottish Enterprise confirmed that, as some of the terms of this grant had been breached by the factory closure, it would try to recover the money. Mr Pezeshki said he had warned Scottish Enterprise officials he was having problems and asked for more help but they refused more support.
He said: “I can understand their hesitation to help Kaiam given it’s taxpayers’ money.
“But note that we all thought we could make the December payroll as we did have multiple options on the table.
“The situation was very fluid in the last month but I tried to keep them appraised of developments.”
Administrators were appointed on Christmas Eve and 310 of 338 workers were put out of work.
Mr Pezeshki added: “About a month ago I alerted Scottish Enterprise that the cashflow situation was getting more precarious.” He said two weeks later administrators KPMG were informed Kaiam was “tight on cash”. Mr Pezeshki told the MSPs that Scottish Enterprise was “fully aware of the situation”.
Mr Findlay added: “I have to ask why it took them until Christmas Eve before 300 employees were made aware of this situation?”