Stones Ashford shortfall tops £4m

Jo Francis
Thursday, January 4, 2018

Stones Ashford had an estimated deficiency of more than £4m when it was shut down, with sister site Henry Stone in Banbury named as one of the firm’s largest creditors.

The Kent-based magazine printer was eventually put into liquidation last month, four weeks after the site’s power was cut off by energy supplier E.On.

The estimated statement of affairs (SoA) relating to the liquidation details a total shortfall of almost £4.2m at the business.

However, PrintWeek also understands that some creditors are in the process of clarifying the amounts shown, due to some apparent anomalies in the document.

The SoA states that secured creditor Close Brothers Asset Finance is owed £2.25m for plant and equipment at the Stones Ashford site, which is now in the process of being sold. 

Invoice discounting provider IGF Business Credit is owed £727k, secured on the Stones Ashford debtor book.  

The firm’s 120 former employees are collectively owed more than £1.6m, while HMRC is owed £741k.

However, the firm’s second-biggest individual creditor was floating charge holder Henry Stone Printers in Banbury, owed £930k.

None of the major paper, ink or printing plate suppliers appear on the document, although Essex-based materials sourcing specialist Materias is owed around £36k. 

The deficit for trade creditors totals £700k, including the outstanding E.On debt of £180k. E.On had issued a winding-up petition against the company, and terminated the site’s power supply on 17 November.

Client Emap Publishing also appears as a creditor, with a debt of just under £56k. 

AL Mailing, which is located on the same Ashford site, and had been a supplier to Stones Ashford and Headley Brothers before it for more than 15 years, is owed just over £59k.

Director Mick Ryan said he felt badly let down. “It’s very disappointing when what you think of as blue-chip companies don’t always stay there,” he said.

“We’re pushing on with replacing the work. Now that publishers have had time to reflect after the initial panic, some of the work is actually coming back.”

Henry Stone acquired the long-established Headley Brothers business in a pre-pack deal in March 2017.

Henry Stone managing director Richard Walsh has not commented.




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