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LLC update from Steve


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Phil,

Thanks for posting the update - Im sure many people will be pleased to hear that there is a potential for somebody to assume all customer obligations, but for me, the best news is that Steve is doing well and has good prognosis.  If he happens to read this ... don't stress, take things at your pace, and keep fighting Steve! 

 

Rich

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On 11/06/2019 at 14:27, Phil Parker said:

Little Loco Company has several interested parties interested in the business and Steve is hopeful that the negotiations will bring about a result that will assume all the obligations to customers. 
 

Besides wishing Steve well, that part of the update is good to hear. :good:

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  • 2 weeks later...

This information really needs to be shared more widely. There are many angry and frustrated people out there who have paid good money and are completely in the dark. Whilst Steve may not be able to function due to health, someone in the know really needs to get this info out there. A posting on one Facebook group today highlights the hassle that one person is getting from the situation they find themselves in with no fault of their own.

Alan

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2 hours ago, hilbreman said:

someone in the know really needs to get this info out there

 

There's nothing to stop anyone sharing the link to this thread on Facebook.

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13 hours ago, hilbreman said:

This information really needs to be shared more widely. There are many angry and frustrated people out there who have paid good money and are completely in the dark. Whilst Steve may not be able to function due to health, someone in the know really needs to get this info out there. A posting on one Facebook group today highlights the hassle that one person is getting from the situation they find themselves in with no fault of their own.

Alan

 

You could always share the link yourself. Did you share the information with the person in question?

 

We cannot expect moderators to do everything. 

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Posted today by Steve on the LLC Facebook page:

 

Unfortunately all negotiations to secure the projects of Little Loco Company have resulted in no significant progress so preparations are being made to cease trading. LLCs debts currently amount to more than the market value of its assets so losses are inevitable, sadly.

In the spirit of openness, and the hope that the projects and company can be saved, our financial position is outlined below:
Overdraft £10,000
Loan £15,000
3 investors

The Rustons will require a production investment of £65,000 to bring them to market. The tooling has been designed to produce a third model (the final production version) for minimal tooling costs.

The Class 22 tooling and production can be paid for from the revenue from all 3 Ruston variations. There are several individuals who have made two of their 3 payments to fund the development of the model (in return for a model of their choice), which is complete. The 22 will be the most advanced model on the market and has several technologies transferable to future models and as standalone products to upgrade or enhance existing models and kits.

I am willing to give the company away to any individual or organisation that can meet its debts and obligations to its customers. Alternatively, I may be able to manage the company for you between my treatment.

I will be starting a new treatment in a three weeks, so I would like to settle this matter within this timeframe.

My sincere apologies and kindest regards
Steve

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I think the offer of giving the company away (to someone who can meet the obligations) is a very decent offer indeed.

I have neither the knowledge or the wherewithal to take it on but I keep my fingers tightly crossed that someone somewhere can do so.

I'm not making any suggestions but someone who is already involved in this scale, perhaps? The class 22 looks to be a stunning model and worth saving, never mind the other models.

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I wonder if one of the issues is that the models have been designed to be produced in the UK, thus limiting interest from those who are more familiar / interested with the now expected Chinese production?

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I saw this announcement on Facebook before it appeared on here. A minimum investment of £90,000 is required to breath life into this concern, but I suspect it will cost more than £65,000 to get the Ruston to market. I'm sure it is more complicated than pithing up at a factory with some tools. I am very concerned that it will take the putative proceeds from the manufacture and sale of the Rustons to finance production of the very complex Class 22. From this I infer that the cash from the Class 22 orders does not exist, so where has it gone?

 

I don't think this advances the situation and it certainly provides little or no comfort for those who have paid money for the Class 22 locomotive. Is anyone out there prepared to stump up almost £100,000? The trade seems to have answered this question emphatically.

 

Charles

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It's a shame that we have reached this point but not totally unexpected. I still hope that Steve can get a positive resolution to this. 

Whatever the outcome I wish Steve well for his treatment. 

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12 hours ago, Earl of Pembroke said:

From this I infer that the cash from the Class 22 orders does not exist, so where has it gone?

Indeed. The fact is that the 2 payments already made were the bulk of the total price of the model; the final installment was to be the smallest. As far as I was aware, these payments were funding the Class 22 - NOT the preceding Ruston model. Seems now that's exactly what they were doing.

 

I'm sure an O Scale R-T-R Class 22 will come to market at some point. I doubt it'll have anything to do with this model's design.

Oh and Crowdfunding?? Forget it. :nono:

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3 hours ago, F-UnitMad said:

Indeed. The fact is that the 2 payments already made were the bulk of the total price of the model; the final installment was to be the smallest. As far as I was aware, these payments were funding the Class 22 - NOT the preceding Ruston model. Seems now that's exactly what they were doing.

 

I'm sure an O Scale R-T-R Class 22 will come to market at some point. I doubt it'll have anything to do with this model's design.

Oh and Crowdfunding?? Forget it. :nono:

I have no problem with crowdfunding if done with clear terms and conditions and proper safeguards so that people understand exactly what they are signing up to and paying for so that they can take a fully informed decision based on the risk. 

 

Unfortunately the term "crowdfunding" it seems, can be defined very loosely and open to interpretation. I don't know if there were clear terms under which "crowdfunding" monies were paid in this case, having no interest in the 22 aside from watching the design progress and marvelling as what was being proposed. Clearly a lot of design work and prototyping of parts has been done if the model is ready for tooling, but what were the milestones under which payments were to be made?

 

It appears from the experience here and also on another manufacturer's thread on this forum that there has been a (probably very reasonable) expectation that crowdfunding monies paid in would be ringfenced and used only to progress the model it was destined to deliver and that would certainly have been mine. On the face of it though the same understanding doesn't appear to have followed through to manufacturers, as such ringfencing doesn't appear to have been used with the funding going into general cashflow and swallowed up on other things.

 

Roy

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18 hours ago, Kris said:

It's a shame that we have reached this point but not totally unexpected. I still hope that Steve can get a positive resolution to this. 

Whatever the outcome I wish Steve well for his treatment

 

I agree with that. Most importantly, fingers-crossed for Steve's recovery following treatment and that there are brighter days ahead personally for him in the future.

 

It is a sad way to end, particularly after such a positive and successful start for LLCo through the Class 15. I am no businessman and certainly not any kind of financial expert, but from the standpoint of a total layperson, the offer to give the company away seems a very generous thing to do. Unfortunately, I just doubt there is anyone out there who can afford to plough the kind of investment talked of above into the company in order to rescue it. As a result, whilst I hope to be proved wrong, I think it is unlikely that either the Ruston or class 22 will ever come to fruition. Sad times for everybody involved.

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I have real issues with the way this has been handled by the gentleman concerned the crowd funders have been treated appallingly!!!. It appears that the payments made have been used to fund other bills etc with promises made to me not honoured in any way.Shame on you.

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4 hours ago, south_tyne said:

Unfortunately, I just doubt there is anyone out there who can afford to plough the kind of investment talked of above into the company in order to rescue it.

 

It's likely there are people (individually or a group) out there who may have the funds or access to the funds,  but who don't have the specific engineering knowledge to finish the project. 

 

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1 hour ago, lewey13 said:

I have real issues with the way this has been handled by the gentleman concerned the crowd funders have been treated appallingly!!!. It appears that the payments made have been used to fund other bills etc with promises made to me not honoured in any way.Shame on you.

I have real issues with this post.  

 

The owner is seriously ill and is giving away the company he worked extremely hard to found.  He wants the company to continue with anyone with the necessary monies and skill to continue the projects, and no doubt he is going to have to take a serious personal financial hit, no matter what the outcome is.

 

Crowd funding is ALWAYS risky, you paid your money, you took the risk.  If Steve was in decent health, he would have continued with both the Ruston's and the 22's.  He could just have disappeared into bankruptcy without trying to find a future for LLC and every one would have lost out.  In any business, monies are moved around all the time to keep investors happy, to keep production slots booked etc, that's the way things work.

 

Have some humility and realise that health is much more important than toy trains.  If you cant do that, then shame on you

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I have come to the decision to write my monies paid off, but let's realise that behind this is a person who is seriously ill through no fault of his own he has done and is doing his utmost to save the company and all credit to him for that ! hopefully there will be a good outcome for Steve ,and in the end it is just model railways ,as my mam used to say if you haven't got your health you haven't got anything ! best wishes on your recovery Steve !.......

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1 hour ago, mervyn said:

as my mam used to say if you haven't got your health you haven't got anything ! best wishes on your recovery Steve !.......

 

Exactly. This is a fellow human being we are talking about. I know anything regarding money can provide a lot of anguish but ultimately these are toy trains. Steve's well-being is the crucial thing at the moment. Everything else will come out in the wash in due course. 

 

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I don't understand people's expectations that if they crowdfund something or pay for something up front that doesn't exist, then there is a guarantee they will get what they paid for. 

 

Such investments are speculative.  They may come off, in which case happy days.  They may not, in which case you lose your money. 

 

So don't whinge (as we say in Oz) and carry on if you lose your money.  It was your decision to put it as risk given there was no product to purchase.

 

I paid a lot of money to SPTC well over 2 years ago for a Brisbane Tram in O Scale.  Still no sign of it yet.  It may or may not eventuate.  If it does, great.  It if doesn't then it was a risk I was willing to take and I will take the financial loss.

 

Steve is no doubt going through a lot of stress both health wise and business wise.  And probably beating himself up as well. The best we can do as a community is to support him and refrain from further criticism.  He has done his best - it just hasn't worked out how he had planned.

 

How many things in your life have not worked out as you planned?  I suspect too many to write down on a sheet of paper if you are honest.  And if you haven't had a major health scare you are still in front of where Steve probably is now.

 

We cannot change what has passed / happened. 

 

If as suggested above the major players have looked at the operation and decided the Ruston and / or Class 22 are not commercially viable based upon their existing status then it's sad news.

 

It may be that the way in which LLC decided to bring the models to market using multiple manufacturers for different parts is not viable, in which case it would not surprise me if starting from scratch with a single manufacturer in China would turn out to be a less expensive option than trying to take on and complete the existing models.

 

Best regards.

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A real shame - the 15 is the bees knees and I have 3 of them!

 

I would have bought the 22 but was put off by the crowdfunding and was going to wait for the finished model.  Sad that it has come to this but I do wish him a speedy recovery

 

Paul R

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