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Liquidator may rescue huge housing framework contract

Some £1.2bn of housing work could be rescued from the ashes of failed social housing procurement firm Cyntra.

Creditors have appointed accountant Stephen Grant, of Wilkins Kennedy, as liquidator after the owners - eight London boroughs or their arm’s-length housing management organisations - put Cyntra into administration in June.

He said: “I believe Cyntra still owns the framework contracts and I’m taking legal advice on that. I believe they still have [construction] work attached to them, though the contractors on them would have the right to terminate if they chose.”

Cyntra last August let a framework contract valued at £800m, and the following month another valued at £400m which involved smaller firms, though it is unclear how much work materialised.

The frameworks were developed with financial support from the Homes and Communities Agency, which was interested in particular in a technique developed to involve leaseholders at an early stage in framework contractor selection; social housing renovation contracts are frequently delayed by leaseholder disputes.

Cyntra was supposed to save its owners money by jointly procuring contractors for them, with its running costs met from a proportion of the value of works put through it.

But creditors have said that most owners did their own procurement, starving Cyntra of cash to keep going. Creditors include construction consultancies Procom and Stradia and former staff.

Mr Grant said that he would investigate Cyntra’s affairs and publish a report within the six months deadline.

“Every liquidator has, as part of the role, to investigate the affairs of the company and the conduct of its directors,” he said.

Cyntra’s beneficial owners

Ascham Homes (Waltham Forest), Barnet Homes, Hounslow Homes, Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, Sutton Housing Partnership, London Borough of Hillingdon, London Borough Ealing, London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.

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