Logistics specialist went under in February with the loss of 160 jobs

Essex contractor Readie Construction collapsed into administration owing £34m with the largest trade creditor owed just over £3m.

Begbies Traynor was appointed in February with the majority of the firm’s 160 staff made redundant.

In an update filed at Companies House, the administrator said subcontractors were owed nearly £19m with other trade creditors owed a further £6m. HMRC is owed £8m while staff are owed £1.2m.

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Readie’s last pre-tax profit margin was just 0.4%

Four subcontractors are each owed £1m or more with the largest, a structural steelwork firm, owed £3m.

The logistics and warehousing specialist’s collapse once again shone the spotlight on the problem of the industry’s wafer-thin margins.

In its latest published accounts, filed at Companies House last October, Readie reported a turnover of £421m in the year to March 2023, a rise of 22%.

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But pre-tax profit nosedived two-thirds to £1.7m, although its cash balance at the year-end improved by £1.2m to £12.3m.

The fall in profit meant the Romford-based firm’s pre-tax profit margin was shredded to just 0.4% from 1.6% last time which itself was down on the 1.7% it posted the year before, when it became an employee ownership trust.

Readie said 2023’s profit was hit by several challenges including supply chain failures and the higher cost of bringing in replacements, the impact of inflation and jobs being competitively tendered, rather than negotiated.