Car dealer Howes of Fakenham in administration

by SAM WILLIAMS, Senior business writer
Monday, November 22, 2010
5:54 PM

Car dealership Howes and Sons has called in administrators after being hit by a re-assessment of its pension fund.

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The Peugeot dealer, which trades as Howes of Fakenham, suffered a “substantial” liability after being asked to make up an alleged deficit in its part of a motor industry pension fund, which provides pension cover for the car retail sector.

The company, which has a turnover of about £3m, disputes the liability.

Joint administrators Julian Pitts and David Wilson of Begbies Traynor said the company had also been hit by the deaths of two members of staff and the planned retirement of its managing director.

The administrators said there would be “no immediate redundancies” in the firm’s 13-strong workforce, and they would continue to trade the company as normal while a new owner is sought.

Julian Pitts said: “This is a long-established business with a good reputation and some valuable assets including a large leasehold site in a prominent location in Fakenham, comprising a well-maintained showroom, offices and workshop facilities.

“The directors and shareholders of the company very much regret that they have had to come to the decision to place the company in administra-tion. Following the sad deaths of two long-serving employees and the imminent retirement of its managing director, there is no natural successor to what has hitherto been a family- run company.

“The company is also facing a substantial, albeit disputed, liability to make up an alleged deficit in its part of the Motor Industry Pension Fund following re-assessments of the pension fund’s requirements.

“These circumstances have led to the need for an orderly disposal of the company’s business and assets.

“With its strong brand and prime location within the town, we are confident that we will be able to sell the business as a going concern.”

Howes has been trading as a car dealership for 50 years and traces its roots to 1784, when the company was founded as a coach builder.

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