By on November 16, 2015

CaparoT1

Caparo Industries chairman Angad Paul died Nov. 9 in an apparent suicide just days after the steelmaking company his father founded, and Angad ran, announced massive job cuts and forced administration in Britain, according to The Guardian (via Autoblog).

Caparo Industries is the parent company of Caparo Vehicle Technologies, which produced the Caparo T1 and was planning a higher-end version of the car to go on sale.

The Caparo T1, which was developed with help from McLaren engineers, lived on the fringes of the supercar market with only 16 examples sold in the UK for around $360,000. It was also built at a short-lived plant in the U.S. Prince Albert of Monaco helped unveil the car in 2006 and it later appeared in several racing events around the world, including Goodwood.

Paul, who took over the company from his father in 1996, expanded the business beyond steelmaking into cars, design, hotels, private equity investments and aerospace. Paul is listed as a producer in the Guy Richie movies “Snatch” and “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.”

According to The Telegraph, Caparo Industries faced difficult competition from cheap imported steel, a rising British pound and high energy prices. In October, the company looked for funding to keep it from going bankrupt.

The steelmaker employed roughly 1,800 people — of which more than 450 were recently laid off — and the company’s future is in doubt.

The next-generation T1, dubbed T1 Evolution, was reportedly being shown to interested buyers.

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16 Comments on “Caparo CEO Dead, Massive British Steelmaker And Once-supercar Maker In Doubt...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Sounds like sonny boy over-expanded and stretched it too thin. So when harder times came the reserves to hold out weren’t there – and belly up it goes.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Well, the kid may have been a wastrel sh1t but the old man is, as in still kickin’, awesome:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swraj_Paul,_Baron_Paul

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      Someone living the lifestyle of the movie character Arthur might legitimately be considered a wastrel, but the man’s only mistake was to swing for the fences, rather than to be content to try to live off what his father had done.

      Indeed, had he stood still, and remained undiversified, he and his company were probably at greater risk, when compared with a diversified company.

      On the one hand, it is difficult for us mere mortals to feel sorry for someone whose net worth once dwarfed almost all of ours, but when a man’s life work and ambitions comes tumbling down around him, with little or no hope of stemming the tide, and when he realizes that this downfall will cause misery for many others at the same time, it can easily be seen why in the end his whole world must have seemed like a nightmare with no way out, or should I say, no other way out but to end it all.

      Likely he had some talent, and at least a good bit of ambition, and it is sad to see that end up all crashed down around him, and with him in the end left with nothing but despair.

      I don’t know what his personal life was like, but perhaps he had loved ones, people who loved him, and that he loved. Yet his impending failure seemed so monumental that he could not see any way out but to end it all.

      Try to visualize for just one minute, what his world must have looked like to him at the end, and perhaps it will not come so easy to simply dismiss him as a profligate spender, wasting his dad’s money on sports cars and the entertainment business. It may very well have been his best, but failed, attempt to diversify beyond susceptibility to an increasingly competitive and commodity-like steel market, further hampered by currency fluctuations.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Companies who manufacture, I feel like should stick with manufacturing or at least on that side of things. Branching out into entertainment, auto racing, hospitality, design – none of those things are similar to manufacturing. And it’s difficult.

        Hotels especially.

        • 0 avatar
          niky

          In the 21st Century, if you’ve got a pure manufacturing business *not* based on cheap Chinese labor and materials, you are no longer in business.

          http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/oct/19/risk-of-further-casualties-in-british-steel-industry

          Ironically, Caparo held out longer than some other concerns… But only just. Diversifying in the face of overwhelmingly cheaper competition from China was a good idea. Not knowing the financial details, however, it could have been a case of too little, too late, or too marginal… or all of the above.

          If a global giant like Tata couldn’t keep their UK operation going, what hope did Caparo?

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      And Mom still has the fish stick business.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Well Andrew Carnegie, he ain’t.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      @PrincipalDan If Andrew Carnegie were starting out today, he would be Andrew Carnegie in name only.

      What was possible in the environment of that time is not possible in today’s world, at least not in the same way that Carnegie achieved it.

      Likely he would never have been able to get US Steel off the ground, what with unions, antitrust regulations, OSHA and EPA, competition from cheap resources and cheap labor elsewhere in the world, and so on.

      So it should be no surprise that he ended up not creating an expanding Carnegie-like empire, given the differences between Carnegie’s world and Angad Paul’s.

  • avatar
    VolandoBajo

    For all the success the senior Paul enjoyed, his life was filled with tragedy…lost his daughter to leukemia, his son an apparent suicide, and he was investigated, and ultimately acquited of anything other than negligence, in a financial “scandal” for which he repaid “43K pounds, 15K pounds more than he was required to repay by the investigating committee”.

    I would rather be struggling to try to live more or less comfortably on my retirement income, and to still have my wife and son, than to be one of the richest men in the world, but to have lost the two people I love the most in the world.

    This story sounds more like a family tragedy than a story of someone’s wrong-doing or stupidity in business.

    You might feel differently, but this story just makes me feel sad for the whole family and what they have gone through. Never mind about the money…there are some things that no amount of money can replace or overcome.

  • avatar
    FAHRVERGNUGEN

    Reading too fast resulted in confusion as to who would name a car ‘Craparo’ or was it just a slow Chevy coupe?

  • avatar

    I could have understand the Caparo T1 if it were a separate FIA race class. It looks gorgeous, like an enclosed F1 car. However, the deceased would have done a better job if he had looked where the automotive market is heading.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    Wasn’t this the car that kept trying to burn itself to the ground, including when several journalists were inside, as well as Jason Plato? (Leading to Top Gear calling him “baked potato” IIRC.)

    Aside from that little issue, it also seemed to break constantly. Doesn’t seem like it would be a huge loss if it went away, there are loads of other hyper fast track day specials available from tiny British firms, like Radical whose cars actually work and dominate lap times pretty much every where they show up.


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