BusinessBusiness RecoveryLavelle’s best efforts fail to save Erinaceous

Lavelle's best efforts fail to save Erinaceous

Erinaceous has gone into administration only days after its finance director Dominic Lavelle appeared to have secured the troubled company a stay of execution

Erinaceous logo

This week, partners from KPMG were appointed as joint administrators at the
property services company. Jim Tucker and Myles Halley will try and pull off a
complicated process, which may see some parts of the company offloaded, while
some are sold and others are ring-fenced.

On his appointment last year, analysts had suggested that the former FD of
Alfred McAlpine might be living on borrowed time if nervy investors objected,
but his survival prospects were given a major boost when its bankers agreed to
stand by the company after a turbulent year which saw the company settle a £26m
property over-valuation dispute.

Those same bankers have now opted to cut their losses and buy the
well-performing Erinaceous Insurance Services arm as part of the administration.

KPMG said: ‘The strongly performing insurance subsidiary ­
Erinaceous
Insurance Services
­ is ring-fenced from the rest of the group, and
continues to operate as normal. The administrators have agreed to sell
Erinaceous Insurance Services to a vehicle owned by
Erinaceous’ banks.

Erinaceous’ Residential Management division and Property Maintenance division
also remain outside of any insolvency process and continue to trade as normal,
KPMG said.

On his appointment as FD last year, Lavelle was tasked with spearheading a
strategic review of Erinaceous, which had been trying to recover from its
damaging over-valuation issues and a boardroom clearout , which forced the
departure of its chief executive Neil Bellis and FD Michael Pearson.

Lavelle had been a central figure in convincing lenders to keep bankrolling
the company until their change of tack this week.

The extent of Erinaceous’ problems, coupled with the capital markets
upheaval, scuppered any chance of refinancing the group’s borrowings, finding a
buyer or raising equity, KPMG said.

Erinaceous employs close to 4,000 people in 200 different locations
nationwide but has been weighed down with ‘unsustainable’ debts of more than
£250m after rapid growth on the back of an aggressive acquisition strategy.

Now the firm has warned that the future for the company’s employees may be
bleak.

Jim Tucker said: ‘Discussions are taking place with a number of parties
interested in these businesses. The administrators hope to conclude these
negotiations shortly but it is too early to tell how many employees will be
affected.’

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