UK smartphone firm Vertu goes bankrupt with debts of 128 mn

14 July 2017

UK smartphone firm Vertu, which made luxury handsets worth thousands of pounds, has gone bankrupt after piling up debts of 128 million ($165 million).

The company gained reknown for its jewel-encrusted Android smartphones that were assembled by hand costing upto 39,100 ($50,000).

Nearly 200 UK workers will lose jobs after a Turkish multi-millionaire's plan failed to keep the company afloat.

Vertu phones were high priced with its Signature range starting at 11,100 ($14,300), and a model featuring 18-carat red gold costing 39,100 ($50,000).

According to commentators, while the company used older versions of Android in its phones, the high costs were due to the materials incorporated in its handsets.

Each phone had the signature of the person that assembled it and shipped with a 24/7 concierge service that customers could use to access exclusive features.

Each concierge could be communicated with via voice, email and live chat, while a built-in Vertu Life app offered exclusive access to sporting events and private members' clubs worldwide.

Vertu likely went under due to competition from companies that offeredother smartphones with precious materials, according to commentators.

One technology analyst said Vertu would have faced competition from companies offering to customise other smartphones with precious materials.

In March, the company was sold by its former Chinese owner to Hakan Uzan, a Turkish exile in Paris.

According to the Daily Telegraph Uzan had planned to pay 1.9 million to take the company out of administration, but for the fact that it had an accounting deficit of 128 million.

Uzan would retain the Vertu brand, technology and licenses.

"It is very unusual, they hand make the phone at incredibly low volumes and they were incredibly high-priced," BBC quoted Ian Fogg, an analyst at IHS Technology.

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