Suppliers to collapsed print giant Howard Hunt 'won’t get a penny' as administrators given extension to sort the mess left by the directors

Suppliers to collapsed print giant Howard Hunt 'won’t get a penny' as administrators are given extension to sort the mess left by the directors

When Santander ran out of patience with the Howard Hunt group in 2019 and Paragon acquired three of the group’s firms the company called in the administers leaving 250 people out of work.

That was only the half of it as suppliers were owed tens of millions of pounds with the bank Santander losing £16.5m although administrators have clawed back more than seven million so far.

Writing for the trade publication Print Week Jo Francis reported that administrators Martha Thompson and Francis Newton needed more time to unravel the complex web of inter company loans made by the directors. She wrote: “In their latest report, administrators Martha Thompson and Francis Newton said it was necessary to spend further time on the administration, and an extension of 24 months to 21 May 2023 has been granted. Secured creditor Santander UK was owed £16.5m by the businesses, and has been paid £7.5m from asset realisations across the group to date. 

“The businesses owed millions of pounds to unsecured trade creditors that are unlikely to receive anything. Company records show outstanding directors’ loan accounts totalling circa £885k at Howard Hunt Mail, and £164k at Howard Hunt (City). The directors’ loan account at OR Multimedia was overdrawn by £17,000.”

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said it was another case of a big name using their profile to run up bills which they knew they couldn’t pay. “A huge number of suppliers to the Hunt Group included the paper merchants, ink suppliers, printing press manufacturers and the firms that service, install and repair presses along with everyone from the sandwich maker to the couriers. The idea they won’t get a penny is disgusting when you look at those loans the directors took out.”

He said he was not surprised the administrators needed another two years to untangle the mess and hoped if there was wrong doing then charges would be brought against the culprits. He noted that Francis had reported that an interim report was being sent to the Secretary of State.

ICSM has a large number of manufacturers and those involved in the printing industry as members which remains one of the country’s largest industrial sectors.

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