A LONG-ESTABLISHED town building firm could have been saved had an eleventh-hour buy-out bid not fallen at the last hurdle, a report reveals.
Hartlepool-based Yuill Homes could have been bought out of administration for £1.4m if the proposed buyer had had time to receive clearance from the Pensions Regulator.
The firm, which built up to 1,000 homes ever year at the height of its success and employed up to 500 skilled workers, went into administration in February after it fell into difficulties.
Stephen Ross and Ian Kings, of accountants Baker Tilly, were called in as administrators and the search for a buyer for the business began.
But a buyer was not found and the company, founded by Cecil M Yuill in 1927, ceased trading at the end of last month, with the loss of 55 jobs.
A progress report says the administrators put out a “Business for Sale” flyer, with a deadline of March 7 to submit an interest for the company and/or its assets.
But this was extended to March 14 and 12 interested parties were given access to online data about the company.
Three offers were subsequently received, and an offer of £1.4m for the business and its assets, from a party connected to private investment firm VBTH, was accepted by the administrators.
But the report, which says the firm’s turnover was £32.08m in 2013, up from £22.58m the year before, adds: “The offer was received from a party connected to VBTH and was subject to the proposed purchaser obtaining a clearance statement from The Pensions Regulator.
“Such a statement is not an approval of a transaction, rather it gives assurance that The Pensions Regulator will not use anti-avoidance powers in relation to the transaction.
“Unfortunately, it was not possible to conclude the application for a clearance statement in the timescale required by the proposed purchaser, and as a result, the offer was withdrawn on March 31.”
The Hartlepool-based Yuill family sold the housebuilding company to Taggart Holdings in 2006.
But Edward Yuill, managing director of Mowden Park Estates, still spoke of his disappointment when the firm went into administration.