The various Paperlinx companies that went into administration in April 2015 are now in creditors’ voluntary liquidation as the complex administration process has drawn to a close.
In their final progress report to creditors Matthew Smith and Neville Kahn, the joint administrators at Deloitte, detailed a number of important developments, including news that the Pension Protection Fund has withdrawn its claim against The Paper Company (TPC) with respect to the massive £180m deficit across the Robert Horne and Howard Smith pension schemes.
“The withdrawal of the PPF’s claim in TPC will have a material impact on the dividend available to unsecured creditors of TPC,” the administrators stated.
However, the PPF still has a claim of £153m against the Robert Horne Group defined benefit pension scheme, and £27m against Howard Smith Paper Group’s scheme.
Secured creditors RBS Invoice Finance and ING have been paid in full, receiving £22.8m and £40.4m respectively after Deloitte collected more than £45m in book debts in Paperlinx Europe, and £24m in TPC.
Just over £200,000 was brought in through pallet collection charges from suppliers collecting their stock.
The trading profit for the businesses in administration in the period to 4 March was £4.3m.
Deloitte said that preferential creditors of TPC, Robert Horne Group, and Howard Smith Paper Group were expected to be paid in full within the next six months. These claims total £654,000.
The claims received from unsecured creditors have turned out to be hundreds of millions of pounds lower than the amounts laid out in the original statements of affairs, with the exception of TPC, which is £4.3m higher at £39.4m.
For the rest of companies the claims from unsecured creditors to date total some £273m, compared with over £680m in the initial documents.
The reasons for the huge disparity are not clear.
The amount that unsecured creditors will receive has not yet been established, and will also depend upon the recovery of a dividend of between £10m-£15m from the Dutch administrators Paperlinx NL Holdings.
Deloitte stated that unsecured creditors of all the companies were likely to receive some sort of payment. “The dividend rate is likely to vary significantly between the companies,” the administrators said.
HMRC has submitted a group-wide claim of £8.5m for VAT.
There could be an interim distribution to creditors this year, Deloitte said, but it could also be delayed until the money from Paperlinx NL Holdings comes in.
More than 400 former Paperlinx employees are pursuing a Protective Award claim against the business, for failing in its statutory duty to consult prior to making 20 or more employees redundant. Nearly 700 employees were laid off immediately when the group went into administration on 1 April 2015.
There will be a preliminary hearing next month.
The joint administrators also said that, in line with statutory requirements, they have submitted a confidential report to the Insolvency Service about the affairs of the companies and the conduct of directors prior to the administration.
The Deloitte team working on the case has clocked up total time costs of £6.6m, of which £3.7m has been drawn in fees thus far.