Sheffield insolvency firm P&A collapses into administration

Jeremy Priestley of the P&A Partnership
Jeremy Priestley of the P&A Partnership
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A Sheffield insolvency firm that was under investigation by the Government and being sued by Grant Thornton over £1.2m of alleged ‘unjustified’ fees has collapsed into administration.

The P&A Partnership, which was founded in 1875, went under after being raided twice by officials from the department of Business Innovation and Skills last year.

In December, accountancy firm Grant Thornton launched a legal action after it replaced the P&A Partnership in the administration and liquidation of a Nottingham timber firm.

At the time Grant Thornton reviewed the case and claimed P&A’s fees up to that point ‘were not justified’ - a claim vehemently denied by the company which stated it had been a complex and long-running case.

In July, P&A announced it was moving headquarters after selling a department employing more than a third of staff.

P&A vacated offices on Queen and Paradise streets in the city’s historic business district and moved the remaining 45 staff into Kendall House on Scotland Street.

Kendall House had been home to the firm’s commercial debt recovery department, P&A Receivables, and a firm of solicitors, James Peters & Co.

They were snapped up by Sheffield law firm Irwin Mitchell and all 30 staff were moved to its headquarters at nearby Millsands.

At the time, managing director Jeremy Priestley said the move was a “new era,” adding: “These are exciting times for P&A, and this is exactly the right time for the move to take place.

“The new premises will allow us to work together in modern, open plan environment representing the progressive, forward thinking firm we are today.”

Following the administration, insolvency company, Bebgies Traynor, today announced it had bought ‘the trade and certain assets’ of P&A for £860,000 in a pre-pack deal.

Pre-packs involve a firm leaving behind its debts and identity and being reborn, often with the same assets and staff, but a new name.

In a statement, Begbies Traynor said 36 P&A staff and three former ‘key directors’ would join the firm’s 47 insolvency professionals in Yorkshire.

Ric Traynor, executive chairman of Begbies Traynor Group plc, said: “The acquisition of P&A’s team and cases further enhances our position as the UK’s leading independent insolvency practice.

“In particular, its strong regional presence and team will position Begbies Traynor as the leading appointment taker in Yorkshire and will bring additional strength in asset based lender and creditor services. We are very pleased to welcome the team to the Group.

“The Group remains well placed to continue to take advantage of opportunities to develop and enhance the business both organically and through selective acquisitions.”