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Cox Hire Centres wound up 17 months after its second buyout

PLANT

THE FIRM that bought the Cox Plant hire business out of administration has itself been wound up in the High Court, it has emerged.

Cox Hire Centres, which was set up specifically to buy Cox Plant in February 2005, was wound up last month, leaving £4 million owed to its creditors.

Among those creditors was the administrator of Cox Plant, which was still owed £340,000 for the purchase of the business, and Terex Financial Services, which was owed £540,000 for equipment.

At its peak, Cox Plant turned over £40 million from 30 depots nationwide. The business was bought from owner Andrews Sykes by a management buyout team for £9.3 million in 2002, but fell into debt two years later.

The administrator's sale of Cox Plant to Cox Hire Centres, a firm comprising some of the same MBO team that presided over the demise, came in for criticism from the industry.

But administrator Ernst & Young said it was the only firm that remained in the running that could meet the tough timescales required.

Cox Hire Centres paid £490,000 for Cox in 2005, with £300,000 for the business and a £190,000 contribution towards administration trading costs, plus £5.4 million of novated debts.