Belong Birkdale 2
Cruden was building a care home for Belong in Birkdale at the time of its collapse

Cruden went under owing £19m 

Dan Whelan

The collapsed firm had total debts of £19m and it is unclear whether or not unsecured creditors owed a total of £7.5m will receive their dues, according to its administrator KPMG.

Cruden Construction’s debts at the time of its collapse included £2m owed to Lloyds Bank and £996,000 owed to employees, according to the latest report from KPMG. 

A total of £7.5m is owed to unsecured creditors, including suppliers, and £8m in bond liabilities and an additional £1.1m to HMRC are also outstanding. 

Warrington-based Cruden appointed administrators to all three of its group companies, Cruden Construction, founded in 1964, Cruden Group, founded in 1994 and Cruden Property Services, founded in 1999, at the end of July. 

The overall parent company for Cruden is Sheffield-based Headcrown Group, which is not in administration. 

Cruden Construction had 12 live construction contracts at the time of its collapse, including a 100-person care village for developer Belong in Birkdale. The contracts ranged in value from £1.5m and £13.5m, KPMG said. 

“Cashflow pressures due to losses on several contracts exacerbated by additional cost outlays due to Covid-19”, were the reasons for the company’s collapse, according to the administrator. 

In the weeks leading up to KPMG’s appointment, the company’s directors attempted to find a buyer for the group but failed to do so.  

Cruden has an estimated £9m of assets of which £795,000 is expected to be realised as a result of the administration process and associated sales, according to KPMG. 

The firm reported an operating loss of £2.2m for the financial year ending 30 September 2018. Its turnover for that year was £38m, up from £32m in 2017. 

Since appointing administrators, Cruden has been replaced on a number of jobs including a 119-affordable home scheme in Runcorn that Anwyl has been appointed to complete.

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Always amazes me the amount of debt these huge companies are allowed to get into. They charge through the nose prices to build projects, some charge huge rents, owe suppliers millions, some dodge paying taxes, those who are meant to be managers of these companies are all meant to be best In their field have degrees and yet still manage to somehow owe millions, they owe staff wages and pensions, all the while these ‘managers’ are recipients of huge wages and bonuses. Yet hard working ‘shop floor’ folk get barely anything to make ends meet and are hit the hardest. I can’t get a mortgage without showing I have the money for a deposit and still get told no, even though I’ve been paying a private landlord £800 in rent alone. Councils clamping down on citizens missing a month or two of council tax, landlords kicking tenants out due to not being able to pay rent on time, due to rubbish wages and a pandemic. But for some reason these huge companies can owe millions to hard working British business owners, councils, staff and not be stress-tested and given loans of public money. Does this country not learn? Look at Carillion, look at the banks, there needs to be better ways in how we finance projects and can construction companies cope/ manage if something was to go wrong or get delayed. I agree we need private investment but these private companies also need to be better managed from government or themselves, as it isn’t on or fair on anyone!

By T