Canute Group, which is due to shut its doors this week (21 December), was unable to demonstrate financial standing, MT can now reveal.

Following the news that the business, which completed a pre-pack administration in May, had come to the end of the road, a spokesman for the Office of the Traffic Commissioner (OTC) said:

“I can now confirm the following with respect to the operator licence applications made by Almtone Limited [owner of Canute Group].

“The applications were considered at a preliminary hearing on 3 December 2018 by the lead traffic commissioner, Mr Tim Blackmore.

“The applicant did not meet the mandatory financial standing requirement in advance of the hearing.”

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The spokesman added that the OTC was subsequently notified of a decision to appoint an insolvency practitioner to facilitate an orderly drawdown of the company.

“To enable this to take place and giving consideration to the impact on employees as a priority, Mr Blackmore secured an undertaking from the applicant that its interim licences would be surrendered by 31 December 2018, at the latest. He directed that the existing applications should be withdrawn at that time,” the spokesman added.

Almtone had had eight O-licences in the trading name of Canute Logistics under consideration for the majority of the year.

Their emergence in the spring, with Canute’s Gamston depot as the company’s address on each O-licence and Canute director Glenn Marshall named on each as transport manager, was the first public indication that all was not well at the national business.

It prompted Canute MD Noel Marshall to write to staff dismissing the significance stating the company’s previous funder had obliged Canute to apply for “a number of changes to be made to our O-licences and structures.

“This has now come out into the public domain and nobody should be alarmed about this process”.

Canute’s pre pack sale in May left creditors nursing a shortfall of £5.3m. Since its rebirth under Almtone it has accrued more than £157,000 of outstanding debt.