One of Suffolk’s biggest companies collapses with debts of around £10m

Radford Group's former base in Haverhill. Picture: BARKER STOREY MATTHEWS

Radford Group's former base in Haverhill. Picture: BARKER STOREY MATTHEWS - Credit: Archant

A construction company that a year ago was one of the region’s biggest success stories has gone into liquidation, with more than 400 creditors and debts of around £10m.

Radford Group, based on Homefield Road in Haverhill, employed around 84 people and was run by directors Clayton Latham, John Radford and Thomas Brown.

The company offered a range of fit out services across London and East Anglia, from dry lining to full commercial renovations, with clients including Hotel Chocolat, Hilton Hotels, and Marston’s pubs, and also had interests in property development.

The turnover of the group in May 2017 was £31m, a rise of 73.9% on the previous year, and in December 2017, the company was declared best in the Eastern region in the Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 league table.

But on October 31, Richard Toone and Simon Lowes of CVR Global LLP in London were appointed as joint liquidators to wind the company up.

Mr Toone explained that the liquidation of the company was a result of “a failing of contracts”. “People became disillusioned with work that was carried out, and that gave rise to the fall of the company,” he said. “Some of the projects didn’t go according to plan and there was quite a bit of fallout from that.”

He added that the list of around 400 creditors and the £10m figure could go up “significantly”, but that some claims could be discounted. “There are a few claims that are subject to query and question,” he said. “Others are still coming forward. The creditors include some big national companies, and some contractors too.”

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The union FATE, which helps sub contractors claim back wages and retentions owed, has been assisting some tradesmen to claim back money they believe is owed to them by Radford Group. “We have gone through procedures to get around £250,000 back through legal advisors,” explained FATE’s founder, Scott Sadler. “The construction industry is an awful industry to be in when it comes to getting paid for jobs. I have a lot of suppliers who talk to me in confidence – some members are touching £1m in unpaid wages. It’s a hell of a lot of money.”

Mr Toone says it’s unknown when the liquidation will be wrapped up. “We have to assess whether money is due under contracts. Generally with contracts, you hold back a retention - the customer will pay 95% and hold back 5% to allow for defects. It could take about a year to get that money back.”

One of the creditors seeking money from the liquidators is Stepan Nykyforuk, who runs the drylining company NSPIN. He claims he was not paid for work done on hotel construction projects from February to June this year. “The overdue amount was £162,000 including VAT.

“In August, Clayton, Brown, me and the debt collectors made an agreement for only £100,000, as they did not agree with the amount the contract manager had signed on Radford Group’s behalf.

“In September, they paid only £20,000 and from that time on, they have not responded to emails. I had only empty promises from them. The people who work for me are chasing me for the money, it’s a nightmare situation to be in.”

Another creditor, Paul Raducan, who runs PRA Drylining company, claims that many businesses have ceased trading because of the debts they are owed by the Radford Group. Mr Raducan is seeking £207,000 from the collapsed firm. “I am not expecting to get it all back, there are just so many creditors,” he said.

This newspaper has made attempts to contact Radford Group’s directors through the liquidators CVR Global LLP, but have been unable to reach them at the time of going to press.