Building firm which collapsed owing £1.5m to repay just a fraction back

Norfolk's Gill Building made 48 staff redundant when it went bust. Picture: Gill Building

Norfolk's Gill Building made 48 staff redundant when it went bust. Picture: Gill Building - Credit: Gill Building

A 155-year-old business which collapsed owing £1.5 million to its staff and trade creditors is expected to repay just £250,213 of the debt.

Gill Building, which concentrated on school and council contracts from its base at Colton, west of Norwich, collapsed in the June 2019 making 48 members of staff redundant.

Now administrators RSM have published an update on their progress, saying that £1,563,835 is owed to unsecured editors - who will be repaid on average 16p of each pound they are owed.

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This includes £547,373 owed to employees and directors, £966,561 owed to trade and expense creditors and an inter-company loan of just under £50,000.

Preferential creditors, which is employee pay and holiday pay, are owed £54,703 and will be repaid in full.

Any money repaid to creditors will be through the sale of the company's former assets including land, machinery and vehicles.

In the administrator's initial report around 250 businesses and individuals were named as being owed money.

Among those owed the most is recruitment firm ARC Norwich which was due £31,470.

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However, the group commercial director of the firm, Chris Ford, said he is "saddened" by the collapse of the company and has praised the work of the directors.

Mr Ford said ARC had credit insurance which had paid out the bulk of the debt however the company was still around £3,000 out of pocket.

But he added: "This company was not one of those run by directors who ran it into the ground, went bust owing money and then started again under another name.

"I knew the directors of the company and they worked harder than most of the bosses I've seen in the construction industry. They worked tirelessly to make the business work and its closure was a result of difficult market conditions.

"For us it's not a huge amount of money and I have spoken to other creditors who have been hit worse. What I will stress is that the Gill directors worked hard to do everything they could to save the business."

Gill Building was a family-run business which had been working out of Norfolk for 155 years.

Upon its collapse chairman Andrew Gill blamed the "rumour mill" in part for its demise, saying "we worked hard to try to negate the issues but the rumour mill stuffed us" as suppliers were less keen to work with the company.