Venerable UK hobby leader, Hornby Hobbies has appointed Lyndon Charles Davies to the role of chief executive officer.

Davies is the chairman and founder of Oxford Diecast, a maker of toy cars, planes and trains, which has a turnover of around £5 million.

The appointment of Davies has fuelled speculation that a possible merger could be on the cards. Davies takes the reins of the company in the wake of Steve Cook's departure in September, after only one year's tenure.

Hornby has not had the easiest of trading conditions in recent years, grappling with supply chain problems, falling sales attributed to changing tastes in toys, flatlining share price, and recent boardroom upheaval.

A statement released by the company has confirmed it is “exploring the opportunity to invest” in Oxford’s holding company LCD as a result of Davies’ appointment, with the firm understood to be considering a full takeover of the company or a merger of operations.

Davies has appointed two operational consultants to assist in Hornby’s turnaround: Simon Kohler, who boasts a 35 year history with the company, and Tim Mulhall who has been involved in the international distribution of the model maker’s products.

Majority shareholder, Phoenix, tightened its grip on the company earlier this year, by raising its stake to 72 per cent, triggering the resignation of Hornby chairman Roger Canham from the board.

“Davies’ obvious expertise in and enthusiasm for the toy and hobby industry will provide the group with experienced leadership for the next stage of our development,” David Adams, Hornby interim chairman said.

In an AGM statement in September, Hornby warned that, while the important Christmas trading period is still to come, “there is a risk that the shortfall in performance to date may not be fully recovered over the remainder of the financial year”

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