PKF pursues car giant over fees for F1 administration

PKF insolvency experts are fighting car giant Honda for unpaid fees after
being dismissed as administrators for defunct Formula One racing team Super
Aguri last year.

Partners from PKF are owed around £300,000 for their work as joint
administrators to Super Aguri, of which Honda was the major creditor with tens
of millions owing when the racing team collapsed.

Honda, which closed its own Formula One team this season, rejected the
administrators’ plan to sell Super Aguri, and their fees, then appointed
liquidators from BDO Stoy Hayward to sell the assets of the business. Super
Aguri was officially placed into liquidation on 7 July 2008.

PKF’s joint administrators, Philip Long, Brian Hamblin and Ian Gould, have
applied to the courts to protect their fees, and vigorously defended their
decisions during their time in charge of the ailing business.

The administrators claim a sale was lined up for the business before Honda’s
actions took Super Aguri into a creditors’ voluntary liquidation.

‘Any insolvency practitioner will say that [administration] was the only
route for Super Aguri as there were buyers for it,’ said Long.

‘Honda didn’t want Super Aguri exposed to the marketplace. We are experts in
the industry, I know when an administration’s an administration. Smaller
unsecured creditors voted for our proposals and fees.’

Honda and its racing team Honda GP were owed around £37m out of Super Aguri’s
£52m debt to unsecured creditors.

Some of Super Aguri’s assets were sold by the liquidators, William Turner and
Geoffrey Kinlan of BDO Stoy Hayward, through a sale on the website of
auctioneers SHM Smith Hodgkinson last year.

Driver Takuma Sato’s 2006 Grand Prix car was sold minus its engine and
Honda GP was bought in an MBO by Ross Brawn and is currently leading the Formula
One driver and team standings, after the first two races, with British driver
Jenson Button and Brazilian Rubens Barrichello at the wheel.

James Hyne, partner at James Russell, the solicitors representing the
liquidators, said: ‘With ongoing court proceedings, we don’t wish to make any
more comment at the moment.’

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