Luxury smartphone maker Vertu to close down

Britain-based luxury phone-maker Vertu is closing down

Britain-based luxury phone-maker Vertu is closing down

The luxury smartphone maker Vertu, based in the United Kingdom, is in liquidation after its rescue plan failed, BBC reported on Thursday.

Vertu is known for manufacturing top of the line jewel-coated phones.

Vertu was founded by Nokia in 1998, but it was sold in 2012, and the following year Vertu switched from using Nokia's Symbian operating system on its devices to Google's Android.

The BBC reported that the company - which sold phones costing well over R100,000 - will lay off nearly 200 employees as part of the liquidation process. The brand provided luxury phones to celebrities.

Recent troubles at Vertu began with the takeover by Turkish exile and businessman Hakan Uzan, who promised to rescue the company from bankruptcy. Vertu, with its precious metals and fine, hand-cut leather was supposed to maintain its luxury lead for decades. Vertu's phones started at around £11,100 ($14,390) and a top-of-the-range jewel-encrusted bespoke model could reportedly sell for £280,000.

Speaking to the BBC, IHS Technology analyst Ian Fogg explained that Vertu's business model was highly unusual.

It is not especially surprising that Vertu has been facing financial problems as it is hard to find customers who are ready to pay thousands of dollars but offer functionality that is equal to or even less than that offered by current flagship smartphones.

The plan floundered in the High Court today amid concerns over the scale of its £128m accounting deficit compared with the £1.9m price Mr Uzan meant to pay. The Financial Times reported that he is retaining the brand, the technology and design licenses and plans to rebuild the phone maker.

In case you aren't familiar, Vertu are a high-end luxury phone brand making phones than can go up to £30,000 (RM156,000).

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