Directors' pledge

FOUR directors of a Suffolk printing business which failed with debts estimated at around £1.8 million have given undertakings not to hold directorships for between four-and-a-half and six years.

FOUR directors of a Suffolk printing business which failed with debts estimated at around £1.8 million have given undertakings not to hold directorships for between four-and-a-half and six years.

The four, including a father and two sons, gave the undertakings to the Department of Trade and Industry after accepting reports of unfit conduct in respect of their role as directors of The Pyramid Printing Company Ltd.

Pyramid, which operated from Pyramid House in College Street, Ipswich, was placed into voluntary liquidation on August 31, 2000, with estimated debts of £1,843,129.

Directors who accept findings of unfit conduct following an investigation by the Insolvency Service can enter into voluntary undertakings to refrain from holding directorships or otherwise being involved in the management of a limited company.


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These avoid the need for a court appearance but, once accepted by the DTI, have the same legal force as a ban imposed by the courts.

Of the Pyramid directors, Quinton Taylor David Hembry, 45, of Portman Road, Ipswich, has given an undertaking of five-and-a-half years; David Charles Ellis, 58, of Great Maplestead, near Halstead, and Maxwell Messina Hembry, 44, of Chappel Street, Woodbridge, of four-and-a-half years each; and Digby Taylor Hembry, 69, of Bealings Road, Martlesham, of six years.

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Matters of unfit conduct not disputed by the four directors were that they caused or allowed the company to trade to the detriment of its creditors in that, although the company was insolvent from its inception, it continued to trade allowing trade debts of £903,416 and Crown liabilities of £87,344 to accrue.

Digby Hembry (father of Maxwell and Quinton Hembry) and David Ellis also did not dispute that they caused or allowed a successor company, Burton Mills, to trade using a prohibited name, The Pyramid Printing and Publishing Company, and caused or allowed Pyramid to enter into transactions to the detriment of creditors by making payments of £7,400 to a connected person.

Quinton Hembry has also given a second undertaking, also of five-and-a-half years, in respect of his conduct as a director of Burtons Finishing Company Ltd which operated from Burton House, College Street, Ipswich, and which was placed into voluntary liquidation on January 25, 2001, with estimated debts of £153,941.

Daniel Jonathan Mann, 30, of Hale Road, Walthamstow, London, has given an undertaking of two years in respect of his conduct as a director of the same company.

Neither man disputed that they failed to ensure that Burtons maintained or preserved adequate accounting records. As a consequence, the liquidator was unable to verify its statement of affairs, to test the cause of its failure, to recover book debts or establish the true nature of Burtons' assets, to ascertain the directors' remuneration and benefits, or to verify creditors' claims.

All addresses given by the Insolvency Service in respect of directors giving undertakings date from the time of their company's failure.

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