Devon building firm collapse leaves monster £1M debts

Underhill Building Services Ltd went into liquidation (generic photo of construction)
-Credit: (Image: Pixabay)

Devon building company, Underhill Building Services Ltd, is expected to leave unpaid debts worth £1m following its collapse. Established in 2001, the company that specialises in electrical, plumbing and joinery, went into liquidation last year.

Recent documents from Companies House reveal that while the company had only £6,000 in assets, it was heavily indebted.

According to a progress report published by Plymouth's Brailey Hicks, creditors of the Estover-based company should not expect any reimbursement. The report states: "It is anticipated that no distribution will be made to any class of creditor."

Secured creditor Lloyds Bank Commercial Finance Ltd, has stated a claim of £43,601 but the liquidators have said: "It is anticipated that the asset realisations will not be sufficient to repay them in any capacity."

While HM Revenue and Customs, the secondary preferential creditor, is estimated to have a claim of £7,214, the company's statement reveals the amount to be around £327,875. However, the liquidators have expressed: "HMRC's claim has not yet been received.", reports Plymouth Live.

Unsecured trade and expense creditors are claiming £929,378 but this figure may increase. The report stated: "Proofs of debt are still being received and therefore the total value of unsecured claims is not known at present."

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The statement of affairs for Underhill Building Services Ltd reveals that the majority of the unsecured debts are due to the associated company The Rogers Group (SW) Ltd, which is owed £243,688, and one of its own directors, Keith Underhill, who has claims amounting to £685,710.

Underhill Building Services was once part of the larger Underhill Group Ltd, which oversees Plymouth's renowned Underhill Engineering Ltd. However, Underhill Engineering Ltd remains a separate entity and is not affected by the liquidation of the building firm.

In 2019, control of Underhill Building Services shifted from Underhill Engineering to Adela and Steven Rogers owners of Rogers Group Holdings Ltd, which includes subsidiary Rogers Group (SW) Ltd alongside Keith Underhill, who is now 76 years old.

The latest accounts for Underhill Building Services, up to March 2021, showed net liabilities of £716,364. Keith Underhill co-founded the Underhill Group with his brother Mike Underhill, now 74, back in 1974, and they continue to be the proprietors.