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Forrest collapse: Suppliers to lose £25m

Forrest’s suppliers and subcontractors are expected to lose virtually all of the £24.6m they are owed by the failed contractor.

The joint administrators’ report from FRP Advisory put total unsecured creditor claims at £28.2m. They estimate only around £266,000 will be available to repay this.

Secured creditors were owed £17.6m by the company, with Santander alone owed £10.7m of the total. Greater Manchester Combined Authority was also owed £2m for a loan it provided in 2013.

All secured creditors are expected to face some loss on what they are owed.

Former employees of Forrest are expected to receive the full £266,000 they are owed for unpaid pension contributions and holiday pay.

Work won on low margins that became loss-making due to delays and cost increases brought down the Bolton-based firm, according to the administrators.

Forrest had £3.8m in retentions held by other companies when it collapsed, along with £13.4m in trade debtors and work in progress.

Forrest reported a combined £15.3m pre-tax loss on turnover of £259m over the past three years, while its net liabilities ballooned from £2.7m in 2016 to more than £14m in 2018.

In September last year a review of the firm’s construction contracts was carried out and found that even if they could be re-priced or exited the company would still need an extra £6m to keep going.

Forrest’s main shareholders were not willing to put more money into the firm however, and the directors planned for a sale of part or all of he business.

On 30 October FRP were brought in to look at the options available to the company, included an accelerated marketing and sale of the business.

Seven firms signalled their interest in purchasing the business with Engie submitting the winning bid of £1.3m for some elements of the company’s energy and refurbishment operations.

The sale saved 59 jobs, with the possible of more staff moving to Engie if three further contracts are novated to the company.

However, around 120 employees have lost their jobs.

In December building services and maintenance specialist Proline went into administration with Forrest owing it £2m. Around 100 people lost their jobs in the collapse.

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