Troubled firm saved in £3.4m debts deal

Russ Cowan and Alix Fellows, NWS directors.
Russ Cowan and Alix Fellows, NWS directors.
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A crisis-hit Green Deal installer has avoided liquidation after renegotiating its £3.4m debt.

NWS of Barnsley faces an uncertain future after creditors agreed to a Company Voluntary Arrangement - but it does not face immediate closure with the loss of all jobs.

At a meeting this week, creditors agreed to a deal to pay them 11p for every £1 they are owed.

The alternative, according to the directors, was no pay out and liquidation.

In insolvency documents, directors Alix Fellows and Russell Cowan and founder Stewart Davies say they are willing to commit £250,000 to be shared among creditors.

Their aim is to ‘preserve the accreditations, certifications and infrastructure and good relations to enable the company to trade again in future’. They also state: ‘The only criticism that can be levelled at the company’s directors is their continued belief in the Government’s policies, schemes and incentives combined with the Government’s abilities to implement them, along with many other established and new companies within this sector who also are reeling from these decisions.

‘For example Mark Group recently announced over 735 redundancies’.

The firm was unavailable for comment and it is unclear how it will now operate.

NWS made £1.8m profit in 2012 but lost £2.2m last year and had a deficiency of £3m at the end of September, according to a statement of affairs.

The firm, of Maple Close, Tankersley, Barnsley, expanded rapidly after being approved as an installer and assessor for the Government-backed Green Deal energy-saving scheme.

But in documents issued by Seneca Insolvency Practitioners, the directors say the company hit problems due to early closure, unexpected delays and sudden reductions in eight Government subsidy schemes.

A DECC spokeswoman said were always clear about the amounts of money available and had just announced another £100m.

She added: “With regards to Green Deal Home Improvement Fund and the point about the abrupt closure. With applications coming in thick and fast DECC had to act quickly to ensure the scheme closed by the time funds were no longer available.

“The priority was honouring existing applications that satisfy the terms and conditions of the scheme.”