Court claim could pay millions to Deben Transport's creditors 5 years on

Lorries queue for the frontier control area at the Port of Dover in Kent, where freight Channel traf

Administrators of Felixstowe-based Deben Transport hope that a multi-million pound court claim could help pay creditors - Credit: PA

A Felixstowe-based haulage firm which collapsed in 2015 has been put into liquidation by the High Court, but there is still hope creditors could be paid back.

Deben Transport, which was based in Fagbury Road, Felixstowe, went into administration in April 2015, owing £6.78million.

The firm, which was founded in 1986, employed 224 people across eight sites and operated 147 mostly hired trucks. But it incurred mounting losses after taking over a struggling northern haulage firm called Elite Transport Services in 2013.

Now the company has been put into a compulsory liquidation by the High Court to prevent some creditors claims expiring. As a result of this the company's administrators, David Scrivener and Mark Upton of Ensors Accountants, will transition to becoming its liquidators.

According to the final administrators report, dated March 25 2021, HSBC Invoice Financing has already been fully repaid for a £2.3million debt.

Despite this the reports states £7.6million is still owed to unsecured creditors.

But administrators hope that a court claim could help to pay back these creditors. 

In 2016 the European Commission found that truck companies broke EU antitrust rules to collude and fix prices between 1997 and 2011.

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As a result the 'Truck Cartel' was fined €2.93billion and legal action for damages for around 11,000 firms is ongoing. The final administrators report says Deben Transport is one of these firms and could be owed between £4-8million.

Among those who could be paid with this money are the firm's former employees, who are due £1.5million in relation to their redundancies. But, the report adds, this is likely to increase following the decision from an employment tribunal.

The final administrators report said: "We do not currently anticipate that there will be a return to the preferential or unsecured creditors based on existing realisations, but this will change if the Truck Cartel claim referred to below is successful.

"This action may lead to a significant realisation which, depending on the extent of such an award could result in full repayment to the secured creditors, as well as a potential return to both the preferential and unsecured creditors."

According to their report the administrators are owed £364,300 for the 2,030 hours they have spent working on the case since 2015 — an average rate of £179 per hour.

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