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Repair centre closes

Liquidators for Halstead Crash Repair Centre in Southend-on-Sea have blamed Norwich Union for the bodyshop’s collapse in November.

The single-site body-shop signed a contract with Norwich Union three weeks after it began trading in August 2006.

The deal, which made the insurance company its main client, provided between 15 and 18 jobs per week; its four other work providers brought in nine.

In October 2006, Norwich Union told Halstead it would have to provide a fleet of courtesy cars in order to retain the contract, resulting in a substantial investment.

Eight months later the insurer told Halstead’s directors that it intended to reduce the volume of work to smaller garages like their company.

Attempts to cut costs failed, and the directors were advised to place the business into voluntary liquidation.

Book debts to the company total £29,076, and are expected to realise £15,000 in liquidation.

Plant and machinery is valued at £4,000. Deficiency is estimated at £79,384, leaving the company £60,384 in debt.

Halstead was not the only bodyshop to close before Christmas; Royal Sun Alliance-approved repairer Spraytech Coachworks in Enfield went into administration in December.

The creditor report is expected this month.

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