On 8 September 2016, Julian Pitts and Bob Maxwell of Begbies Traynor were appointed as joint administrators of William Anelay Ltd, York, one of Britain’s longest-established construction and heritage restoration companies, following the failure of moves to rescue the business by securing a deal with creditors.
William Anelay, a £38m turnover family business which has been trading since 1747, has completed scores of high-profile historic and listed buildings schemes throughout the UK including Lambeth Palace and Wilton’s Music Hall, London. It has won numerous awards and had 17 schemes on site, including those at York Mansion House, Bradford City Hall and Lancaster Castle.
Following cash flow difficulties, the business sought a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) with creditors, but was placed into administration when a CVA proved unviable. The administrators are currently assessing the situation in order to maximise value for creditors as well as liaising with the 140-strong workforce. William Anelay Ltd has now ceased trading and 126 staff have been made redundant.
William Anelay also operates associated businesses Lowery Roofing, Hare and Ransome Joinery, Anelay Traditional Masonry and Anelay Building and Conservation, all of which are unaffected by the administration and will continue to trade as normal.
Andrew Walker and Doug Robertson from Irwin Mitchell in Leeds are advising the administrators.
“It is very sad to see the demise of such a historic Yorkshire family business,” comments Julian Pitts, joint administrator. “Unfortunately, William Anelay ran into cash flow difficulties following a period of expansion and problems with some complex projects. Despite attempts to secure a CVA, this did not prove viable and there was no alternative but to place the business into administration.
“We will be working closely with the management to realise returns for creditors and will keep the employees fully informed as the situation becomes clearer. We are now in discussions with various interested parties and are hopeful that it may prove possible to novate some of the company’s contracts to ensure that work can be completed with the minimum of disruption to clients.”
Chairman and special projects director, Charles Anelay, the eighth generation of the founding family, said: “We have worked very hard to save the business and do the best for our creditors by proposing a CVA. We really believed that we had a good plan to get through our cash difficulties, and were supported by our bank and HMRC.
“The last few weeks have been the worst of my life. We are hugely disappointed that it has come to this. We thank all our staff for their commitment and loyalty, apologise to those clients and creditors who have given their support and who will now lose out, and thank all past friends of the firm and members of the public who kindly gave their support.
“All I can hope is that at some point in the future people will look back at William Anelay Ltd and recognise 260 years of skilled craftsmanship which gave us the privilege to restore parts of our country’s architectural heritage with some amazing projects on some very special buildings which will be admired far into the future.”
William Anelay Ltd was founded in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, and built many of the town's most prestigious properties with many, including the Mansion House, still in daily use.
The company moved to York In the early 1900s and by the middle of the 20th century, it had gained a reputation for quality construction which enabled it to work throughout Yorkshire and eventually the whole of the UK.
Following graduation from the University of Hull, Julian qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Coopers & Lybrand in Leeds. After a short time with Baker Tilly, in 1989, together with David Wilson, he established Wilson Pitts, a specialist independent practice dealing with all aspects of insolvency and corporate recovery work. In 2006, the Wilson Pitts practice was acquired by Begbies Traynor where Julian is now the Joint Regional Managing Partner for the North-East region.