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Allegations of pension misrepresentation at collapsed contractor

Creditors of collapsed contractor Henry W Pollard would like a lot more than 15m from the business, including a 5m pension deficit which might be probed over alleged “misrepresentations”.

Administrators of the Somerset-based firm, which went under in June 2021 after 161 years of trading, said within an update posted to Companies House they hadn’t expected claims to exceed 8.8m, but that unsecured creditors have claimed 15.3m altogether.

Some 5m of the 15.3m total relates to its pension deficit, which might be subject to a study by administrators Bishop Fleming.

“Of principal note may be the issues raised by creditors [] regarding the directors’ alleged pension-related misrepresentations in the business’s financial statements,” the update by the administrators said.

The update said that Bishop Fleming is seeking further legal services concerning “if the matter ought to be pursued further”.

It added: “We have been not at liberty to reveal further particulars at this time.”

Around another 5m being sought by creditors pertains to four claims, totalling around 5m, which put on Pollards live contracts. Those were made because the first assessment of the contractors debts this past year.

There is no update on what much unsecured creditors will receive from the liquidation.

After Construction News revealed that Pollard had opted under this past year, one employee of a firm owed thousands of pounds by the contractor said that the firm’s demise was not expected. While some changes at board level caused a little bit of concern, it had sufficient working capital and shareholders funds, they added at that time.

Pollard was headquartered in Bridgwater, with a regional office in Plymouth, and worked through the entire THE WEST. It operated as an over-all building contractor in the private and public sectors, & most recently had 41 employees on its books.

The business reported a pre-tax profit of 178,000 on revenue of 24.1m, in accordance with its latest accounts for the entire year ending 31 March 2020. It had cash reserves of just one 1.9m at its year end.

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