A historic building firm featured in a recent BBC series has run into financial trouble. The work of William Anelay Limited featured in the BBC2 series Hairy Builders presented by Hairy Biker’s Dave Myers.
Myers followed the York-based conservation specialist around the country during the 15-part series which finished its run last month. The firm has now confirmed it has run into a cash flow crisis and is looking for help from creditors to continue trading.
William Anelay Limited was founded in 1747 and is one of the UK’s longest established construction companies. It said the recent problems “arose after a period of expansion with projects outside its usual sphere which proved financially and operationally difficult.”
Now the £38m turnover company is proposing a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) with creditors to allow it to keep trading.
The company currently has 190 staff, including in associated businesses Lowery Roofing, Hare and Ransome Joinery, Anelay Traditional Masonry and Anelay Building and Conservation, which are unaffected and will continue to trade as normal. Under a CVA, businesses pay creditors a certain agreed percentage in the pound to stay in business, avoid administration and, in William Anelay’s case, the potential loss of traditional craft skills.
William Anelay Ltd is being advised by Newtons Solicitors, Knaresborough, and accountants and insolvency specialists, RMT, Newcastle, which has written to creditors proposing the CVA as a way forward.
Bankers to the company, which currently has 17 schemes on site, including at York Mansion House, Bradford City Hall and Lancaster Castle, support the CVA proposition and it will become binding on all those involved if creditors representing more than 75 per cent of the outstanding debt vote to agree the proposal.
Chairman Charles Anelay said: “While only a few projects outside our usual sphere have been involved, the values were significant and this has harmed our business performance and cash flow. They are now finished, save one, where completion is imminent and another, which has been brought under control, but unfortunately we are now unable to pay suppliers. We have a fresh approach, have returned to our core operations and have a strong order book for the next 12 months and beyond. We appreciate that the need for a CVA will be a great disappointment to subcontractors and suppliers who have supported us for many years but this is the best way to make a maximum and prompt return to creditors and we are totally committed to making it a success.
“Of course, it can work only if our customers are prepared to support the proposal as well.
“With our bank’s support and a successful completion of the proposed debt restructuring, we aim to continue in our current form and are committed to completing schemes under contract.”
Latest accounts filed at Companies House for the year to June 2015 show the company had a turnover of £33.4m and made a pre-tax profit of £493,000 employing 145 staff.
The most recent filing shows that commercial director Alan Bowers left as a director last month.
The company has a secured workload of £33m and £9m worth of projects under consideration in the current financial year and an additional £12m of work already secured for 2017-18.