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Hawk collapses into administration

15 Jan 19 The Hawk group of plant hire companies has gone into administration. The liquidation of Carillion a year ago is being partly blamed for its demise.

Hawk bought 135 new Komatsu machines in 2017
Hawk bought 135 new Komatsu machines in 2017

Sam Woodward, Alex Williams and Hunter Kelly of EY’s restructuring team were yesterday appointed joint administrators of Hawk Plant (UK) Limited and its subsidiaries Hawk Plant Hire Limited, Hawk Hire Limited, Safety & Training Limited, Hawk Plant Limited, and Hawk Plant Sales Limited.

On appointment of the administrators, 83 of the group’s 420 employees were made redundant.

The group, based in Prees, in northwest Shropshire bordering Cheshire, is one of the largest independent plant hire companies in the UK. Majority owned by Mr & Mrs Michael Hawkins, it made a pre-tax profit of £515,000 on £93.5m turnover in 2017. It has more than 40 years of experience in the plant hire industry, with its customer base primarily spanning the infrastructure, energy and homebuilding markets.

The Hawkins sold a minority stake in the business in January 2016 to Business Growth Fund for £8m.

Joint administrator Sam Woodward said: “The group’s cashflow had been impacted by a number of historical problematic contracts and a delay in the commencement of anticipated projects. Coupled with this, the group’s funding structure, with significant hire purchase and finance lease commitments put pressure on the cashflow at a time that asset utilisation was comparatively low.”

While the administrators did not mention Carillion by name, Hawk’s moist recently filed accounts did. The strategic report for the year ended 31st December 2017 stated: “The liquidation of Carillion plc in January 2018 has meant some timing disruption as contacts previously awarded have had to be rescheduled. Due to the high level of credit insurance in place on Carillion plc there will be a minimal write off of balances outstanding at the time of liquidation.”

Hawk Plant Hire Ltd, the biggest part of the group, made a pre-tax loss of £734,000 in 2017 on turnover of £75.4m.

Subsidiary Enverity Ltd, a ground survey and site inspection business based in Newark, which employs an additional 20+ staff, remains solvent and unaffected by the administration.

Sam Woodward continued: “We will now begin the process of seeking to find a suitable buyer for Hawk, to ensure the best possible outcome for all of the group’s stakeholders. In the meantime, we will seek to minimise the impact on the customer base by keeping assets on hire and maintaining service levels.”

Employees affected by redundancy are being offered appropriate advice and support in making claims from the Redundancy Payments Office for outstanding wages, as well as redundancy and notice pay.

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