Canute Group Renault Premiums 2014 2

Canute Haulage Group creditors stand to lose millions of pounds following the sale of the business earlier this month via a pre-pack administration.

A report by administrator FRP Advisory states that as of 18 May unsecured creditors face a deficit of £7m.

The administrator estimated that creditors could ultimately see a return of just 15p in the pound – although not until a liquidator is appointed – leaving them to shoulder an approximate £5.3m shortfall.

More than 900 businesses have registered as creditors.

The business was placed into administration on 11 May and sold on 12 May for £1.3m to Almtone after efforts to find a buyer failed. The move secured 841 jobs.

Almtone shares a common director with Canute in the form of Glenn Marshall. The other listed director, and sole shareholder of Almtone, is Michael Ventham.

The new business is continuing to trade under the Canute name.

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According to the report, 2017 appears to have been the tipping point for Canute, which in its last published accounts had an annual turnover of £106m in the year to 31 July 2016.

The ending of a 29-year relationship with general retailer Wilko in March 2017, with Wincanton subsequently taking on the work from September that year, represented a loss of more than 30% of group revenue (£30m).

In August that year it sold its business materials division, which reported a £760,000 loss, to Eddie Stobart.

This and other contract changes resulted in a shift of £4.8m in working capital and placed the business under strain, with arrears to HMRC building up – the tax man is currently owed approximately £4m.

In a statement following the sale, Almtone said: “After what has been a particularly difficult period for the Canute Group, we are delighted to announce that the assets and trading divisions of Canute have been sold as a going concern to Almtone.

“Our challenges have been well publicised and we are grateful for the patience and support shown by our loyal customers. We look forward to correcting our course to one of stability and positive growth based on consistent and reliable services for our customers.”

Almtone has eight O-licence applications in progress with the Office of the Traffic Commissioner.