Hookways owes £3.5m

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Hookways owes £3.5m to creditors
Hookways owes £3.5m to creditors

Hookways formally went into liquidation on August 22 after a meeting with creditors.

As reported in CBW998, the firm collapsed, with debts of £3.5m.

Around 70 jobs have since been lost. Among its creditors are staff, banks and suppliers, with staff to be paid by the government, who will be reimbursed through sales of assets.

Soaring fuel costs, the weaknesses of the economy and severe weather problems were blamed for the breakdown of the company, one of the South West’s oldest coach firms, dating back to 1929.

Ian Walker, of Exeter-based insolvency experts Begbies Trayor, warned other creditors were unlikely to see any money from the sale of assets.

He said: “A total of around £3.5m is owed to the creditors. Staff will be paid what they are owed by the Government, as preferential creditors.

“But there is little chance of other creditors receiving anything. The company had a lot of debts, including to the bank.

“Most of the assets are the coaches, and they are owned by finance companies.”

Mr Walker said the liquidators had not worked with the company long enough to establish exactly what had gone wrong. But he said those who ran the business were clear about where the problems had arisen.

Around 40 people, mainly members of staff, attended the creditors’ meeting.

Mr Walker said: “The mood of the meeting was very calm. They were mainly there to support the directors.”

Hookways, operated a fleet of more than 50 coaches. The company operated several school bus services in Devon andCornwallas well as holiday tours around the UK and Europe. Passengers currently inSwedenon the firm’s only ongoing trip will complete their holiday as planned.

Clients of Hookways’ corporate travel arm included the Exeter Chiefs Rugby Club, who travelled to away matches in the firm’s luxury coach.

Hookways’ demise came almost exactly a year after nearby Dawlish Coaches went into liquidation with the loss of over 40 jobs.

Meanwhile, in two separate developments the name ‘Greenslades’ has been registered at Companies House. Hookways ran some coaches under this name. The sole director is Alastair Gray, formerly of Hookways and the registered office is at Exmouth. Another company has been registered, Hamilton Gray (Devon) Limited.

It must be stressed there is no suggestion that these developments or anything or anyone connected to them are related in any way.