Catalyst Rail Services, which holds two O-licences for a total of 25 vehicles and 29 trailers entered voluntary liquidation on 24 April. In a statement of affairs the liquidator estimates that trade and expense creditors are owed £982,000.
It also said that the company’s books and records revealed that its bank account balance was overdrawn in five of the previous six months.
Sister company Catalyst Road Services, which holds one O-licence for 15 vehicles and 17 trailers, had an estimated total deficiency of £607,775.
Deben MD Paul Dawson says his company couldn’t take on all of Catalyst’s work, but he adds: "We extended a lifeline to two depots: Teesport and Tilbury. We knew we needed to be in those areas. We have been servicing those areas anyway, but from satellite depots.
"We spoke to senior staff, we bought office equipment from the receivers and approached the port authority where they were based; nothing was done underhand. No-one wants to see anyone go out of business; likewise, you don’t sit on your laurels when the time suits."
County Durham-based Alan Armstrong Haulage was owed more than £16,000 by Catalyst and boss Alan Armstrong says he considered declaring himself bankrupt, but then Deben came to the rescue:
"Deben are helping out by making early payments. You can’t fault them, I couldn’t turn them away."
Armstrong adds: "In all the time I was working for Catalyst I never had an inkling that anything was wrong. The money was there in my account every Friday."
Dawson adds that ex-Catalyst director, Midlands-based Matthew Ferguson, has joined Deben in a business development role.