Pete Wishart calls on OVO to explain £40m in loans and money transfers

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Perth MP Pete Wishart is asking OVO Energy to guarantee that £40million in loans and cash transfers could not have been spent saving hundreds of jobs.

OVO Energy has announced plans to lay off 1,700 people and close its offices in Perth and Dunfermline.

This is despite the energy company’s promise that there would be no job losses when it took over SSE’s retail arm in January 2020.

However, Pete Wishart, MP for Perth and North Perthshire, and Sharon Graham, general secretary of Unite the Union, now want company CEO Stephen Fitzpatrick to confirm that £40million he has moved into his various businesses could not have been used to retain these vital jobs. .

Millions moved

Mr Wishart says Companies House accounts show OVO was charged £21million by its parent company Imagination Industries to cover ‘trademark royalty costs’ – that parent company is also controlled by Mr Fitzpatrick.

Other deals questioned by the pair include a £5.6m loan from Imagination Industries to Vertical Aerospace, which builds electric air taxis, and a £4.4m loan to Imagination Industries Incubator Ltd, and £1.6 million to software development firm Imagine Just 3 Things Ltd. .

Millions of others have also been loaned to claim called Imagination Industries Aero Ltd.

OVO has also received £17million in furlough payments from the UK government during the coronavirus pandemic.

While there is no suggestion that any of these transactions were illegal, Mr. Wishart says Mr. Fitzpatrick must assure the public that this money could not have been spent to keep jobs and offices open, and that none of these funds came from the acquisition of SSE. retail.

Money needs ‘proper investigation’

Mr Wishart said: “Some of the financial matters need to be properly researched.

“We need to be sure that the money has not been used in other businesses – which have absolutely nothing to do with the retail energy market – which could save jobs at OVO.

“I think Mr. Fitzpatrick needs to explain exactly what happened here, and there are serious questions about how some of that money was moved around some of his businesses.

OVO Energy office in Perth

“We need to know that it hasn’t impacted the jobs that will now be lost in Scotland.”

Mr Wishart, along with fellow SNP MSPs John Swinney and Jim Fairlie, had met Adrien Letts, the CEO of OVO’s retail business last week to discuss the layoffs.

The meeting was described as a “disappointment” by the three politicians, who had asked Mr Fitzpatrick to personally attend the meeting.

Mr. Wishart now reiterates his call for Mr. Fitzpatrick to meet them himself in early February.

Fitzpatrick defends the charges

Mr. Fitzpatrick said Sunday mail“I founded OVO Energy with my own savings in 2009 and still own over 60% of the company.

Stephen Fitzpatrick, Founder and CEO of OVO Energy

“The OVO Brand License Agreement was put in place in 2014 as we prepared for outside investment, and is a joint commercial agreement put in place to protect brand ownership.

“Licensing fees are budgeted annually as normal business costs and have been referenced in all of our accounts filed with Companies House for the past eight years.

“Imagination Industries pays full UK tax on its license fee income and has already reinvested these funds into the creation of several new businesses, including Vertical Aerospace and a Bristol-based electric aircraft company.”

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[Pete Wishart calls for OVO to explain £40 million in loans and cash transfers]

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