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Creditors call for Charvills investigation

The former Hertfordshire-based car retail group Charvills owes more than 500 customers and suppliers up to £1.5m and its directors could face a Department of Trade and Industry investigation.

Smith and Williamson has been appointed as the liquidator and is investigating the circumstances of the demise of the group.

Greg Palfrey, director of Smith and Williamson, says: “I can confirm that there are approximately 500 creditors that we are aware of and whose claims we are reviewing.

“The statement of affairs, which is available from Companies House, shows a shortfall to creditors of approximately £740,000. The claims are significantly higher than this.”

Palfrey went on to say: “There will be a distribution to creditors in due course. However, in the meantime, as liquidators to Charvill Brothers Limited we are carrying out the usual investigations.

We are also currently agreeing creditor claims prior to making the distribution, although this process will take some time.”

A committee of creditors has called for an inquiry into the behaviour of the directors of Charvills before the company went into voluntary liquidation.

This includes John Charvill, managing director, and Hannah Charvill, finance director, both of whom are reported to have resigned one month before the group went into receivership.

ICC Credit, a credit reference company, says that there were a number of signs that the company was in trouble as borrowing had increased. Charvills had six outstanding mortgages, the first was borrowed in 1998 but the majority were taken in 2003 and 2004. Pre-tax profits had also declined from £212,000 in 2003 to a £1.5m loss in 2004.

Charvills went into liquidation in August, having ceased training in November 2005, when it went into administration causing the loss of 170 jobs.

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