Howard Hunt administration extended to 2023

Jo Francis
Tuesday, July 6, 2021

The administration of the Howard Hunt group of companies has been extended again, due to unresolved matters including more than £1m in directors’ loans that remain outstanding.

Howard Hunt collapsed into administration in 2019
Howard Hunt collapsed into administration in 2019

Administrators from BDO were appointed at Howard Hunt (City), Graft Solutions, Celerity information Services, OR Multimedia and holding company Howard Hunt Mail just over two years ago. 

The financial mire at the £50m-plus turnover group included a complex web of intra-group loans. 

In their latest report, administrators Martha Thompson and Francis Newton said it was necessary to spend further time on the administration, and an extension of 24 months to 21 May 2023 has been granted.

Secured creditor Santander UK was owed £16.5m by the businesses, and has been paid £7.5m from asset realisations across the group to date. 

“Based on present information there will be insufficient asset realisations across the group to enable the bank to be repaid in full,” The administrators said. 

The businesses owed millions of pounds to unsecured trade creditors that are unlikely to receive anything.

Company records show outstanding directors’ loan accounts totalling circa £885k at Howard Hunt Mail, and £164k at Howard Hunt (City). The directors’ loan account at OR Multimedia was overdrawn by £17,000.

The administrators are being advised by law firm Addleshaw Goddard regarding the directors’ loan accounts. “This matter is still ongoing and as such we are unable to disclose any further information at this point in time,” the administrators stated. 

Unpicking the intra-company loans is unlikely to bear any fruit for creditors because most of the companies involved are also in liquidation or administration. Howard Hunt (City) was owed more than £10.17m by other companies in the group, Howard Hunt Mail was owed £7.76m, OR Multimedia £2.9m, Celerity Information Services £2.32m, and Celerity Communications £147k.

BDO said there was the likelihood of “minimal or no recovery” in all cases bar Celerity Information Services, where the potential recovery from former subsidiaries was described as “uncertain”.

The £11.6m owed to Graft Solutions by Howard Hunt City and Howard Hunt Direct had already been deemed unrecoverable in a previous report. 

BDO said that its confidential statutory report on the conduct of the directors had been submitted to the Secretary of State. 

The administrators are continuing to review the affairs of the ultimate parent company Howard Hunt Mail prior to administration in order to establish whether “any beneficial actions which may be pursued for the benefit of creditors”.

“Our investigations in this regard are ongoing and we shall obtain legal advice on the merits of bringing about claims before commencing any formal action,” they stated. 

Printweek was unable to reach former Howard Hunt CEO Luke Pigott for comment at the time of writing. He is now CEO, but not a director, at PhiX Technologies which is a Salesforce consulting partner. The company’s sole director and majority shareholder is Miranda Pigott. 

 

 

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