Kirkcaldy firm’s collapse with £30m of debts leaves many creditors with nothing

The collapse of one of Kirkcaldy’s major employers will leave many creditors with nothing.

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 8:59 am
Updated Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 9:00 am

A report into the demise of Havelock Europa in 2019 has revealed that few businesses will recoup any of the money owed to them.

The Mitchelston Industrial Estate based business employed almost 250 people at the time it went under.

Now, the final report from the joint administrators appointed in the wake of its collapse have delivered their final report.

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Havelock Europa

It shows Havelock went into administration with debts of £30m.

The company was the UK market leader in the manufacture and installation of furniture across a diverse range of sectors including education, healthcare, hospitality, and retail.

Clients included the University of Edinburgh, Harvey Nichols, John Lewis and Lloyds Banking Group.

Around 50 creditors were left £9m out of pocket, but few will get their money back.

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Scottish Enterprise will get nothing after sinking £2.8m into the business, while Bank of Scotland will get around a quarter of its £4.8m investment - around £1.3m .

Havelock’s demise started in 2018 when it entered administration.

At the time it had around 350 workers, and a deal to sell its assets to a venture capital firm for £1.15m saved around 300 of them.

Twelve months later, and with 247 staff on its books, the company collapsed, and the workers were left unemployed almost overnight.

Havelock struggled under huge cash flow pressures to maintained agreed payment plans, and turnover and profitability was already on the slide.

The report from joint administrators, Graham Frost and Toby Underwood said: “The performance of the company had been depressed since 2015.

Turnover and profitability had fallen in the two years leading up to our appointment as joint administrators.

The company was unable to service and repay all its long term liabilities and had to negotiate its contractual arrangements with these creditors”

Just two months after its collapse, Havelock’s brand and name rights were bought by Mansfield based furniture specialists, Deanestor - which has a base in Dunfermline - for an undisclosed sum, but the deal did not include any plans to re-open the Lang Toun factory or offering work to staff who were laid off.

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