The reign of Almtone-owned Canute Group came to an end today (21 December) just over seven months after it began with the pre-pack administration and sale of its predecessor company.

Close to 600 staff at the firm were informed verbally at 4pm today that the business would be moving into administration with Begbies Traynor handling the process.

"All services have been suspended and the fleet has been ordered to cease activity.

"The vast majority of staff have been let go, including myself, and a few have been kept on for a few weeks for essential activity to assist the administrator, credit control, invoicing etc," said a source previously with the company.

It is understood that around 120 staff have transferred to customers Saint-Gobain and under TUPE regulations.

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About twenty people remain to assist the administrator with approximately 450 Canute employees out of  work ahead of Christmas.

In a statement received after this article was initially published, Begbies Traynor confirmed their involvement.

"Kirstie Provan, Mark Fry and Gary Shankland from Begbies Traynor (London) have been appointed as administrators in respect of Almtone, which trades as The Canute Group, with effect from Friday 21 December 2018.

"The group has been experiencing severe cash flow difficulties and, despite securing an interim funding facility in early November, was unable to secure the wider equity and financing that was needed to enable the turnaround of the group to be finalised and secure the future trading of the business.

"Regrettably, despite the continued efforts of the management team and Begbies Traynor, trading ceased on 21 December with the majority of employees being made redundant on the same day. The administrators will be retaining certain staff in the short term to assist with the final stages of the wind down of operations and asset recoveries.

"Alongside the administration appointment of Almtone, liquidators from Begbies Traynor (Central) have been appointed to act in respect of Canute Medical , Canute Engineering and Canute Logistics," the statement said.

MT revealed this week that Almtone had failed to demonstrate financial standing in regards eight interim O-licences, which will be surrendered at the end of the month.

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 fresh debt that creditors pursued in the form of county court judgments and a winding up petition.

Canute Group did not responded to requests for comment.