Deben Transport’s claim for damages in relation to the truck cartel could be as much as £8m and, if successful, would potentially result in a payout to trade creditors, according to the administrator.

The Felixstowe haulage firm collapsed in 2015, with an estimated £2.4m owed to unsecured creditors and more than £1.4m owed to HMRC.

Administrators Ensors said the company would now enter liquidation and that, as things stand, preferential and unsecured creditors would not receive a return.

However, this position would change if its claim relating to the cartel was successful.

In its latest report, Ensors said: “We will continue to explore a potential claim for damages in relation to the European Commission ‘truck cartel’ ruling during the liquidation.

“This action may lead to a significant realisation which, depending on the extent of such an award, could result in full repayment to the secured creditors, as well as a potential return to both the preferential and unsecured creditors.”

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In July 2016, the European Commission (EC) found that a number of truck manufacturers had broken EU anti-trust rules.

The report said Deben Transport was operating 147 tractor units at the date of its administration and that it undertook a regular turnover of vehicles during the 14-year period when the EC found truck manufacturers colluded on pricing and gross price increases.

“We understand that the industry standard is to renew vehicles on a rolling four year plan,” the report said.

“On this basis, if the company operated c450 vehicles during the period, this could result in a potential claim of c£4m to £8m.”

Ensors said that its legal representatives have advised that any compensation could take “a substantial period of time” to be agreed and paid, but it added: “However, it is noted that such a claim could potentially result in a significant realisation into the estate and, in order for this to be pursued the company has been moved in compulsory liquidation.”

In total, 224 staff were made redundant following Deben Transport’s collapse.