William Anelay goes under after creditors’ deal fails

Administrators have been called in at a specialist York heritage building company that has been in business since 1747.

Begbies Traynor was appointed earlier today at William Anelay whose past projects have included Lambeth Palace – the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury – and Wilton’s Music Hall, also in the capital, as well as current projects York Mansion House and Lancaster Castle.

Joint administrators Julian Pitts and Bob Maxwell said 126 out of the firm’s 140 staff have now been made redundant and the company has stopped trading.

The company first confirmed it was having problems last month when it made an appeal to creditors and Pitts said the firm had run into cash flow problems following a period of expansion as well as being hit by a number of problem contracts on its books.

The firm had attempted to sort a CVA with its creditors – a mechanism where a struggling company agrees with creditors to pay back a certain sum over a period of time in order to stave off insolvency – but Pitts said this hit a dead end.

He added: “There was no alternative but to place the business into administration.”

The company has 17 schemes on site and Pitts said the administrators were talking to rivals and was “hopeful that it may prove possible to novate some of the company’s contracts to ensure that work can be completed with the minimum of disruption to clients”.

He added: “We will be working closely with the management to realise returns for creditors and will keep the employees fully informed as the situation becomes clearer.”

According to its last set of accounts filed at Companies House, William Anelay had a turnover of £33.4m for the year to June 2015 and made a pre-tax profit of £493,000. In July, it said it was extending its current accounting period until the end of this year.

The firm’s chairman Charles Anelay, who is the eighth generation of the founding family, admitted: “The last few weeks have been the worst of my life. We are hugely disappointed that it has come to this. We thank all our staff for their commitment and loyalty, apologise to those clients and creditors who have given their support and who will now lose out, and thank all past friends of the firm and members of the public who kindly gave their support.”

And he added: “We have worked very hard to save the business and do the best for our creditors by proposing a CVA. We really believed that we had a good plan to get through our cash difficulties, and were supported by our bank and HMRC.”

The administrators said the firm’s associated businesses Lowery Roofing, Hare and Ransome Joinery, Anelay Traditional Masonry and Anelay Building and Conservation, were all unaffected by the administration and will continue to trade as normal.