Creditors owed over £300k by Ipswich firm will get back just 3%

PUBLISHED: 06:00 05 March 2020

Chris Powell, inset, is director of Edison House Group in Ipswich Picture: DAVID GARRAD/SARAH LUCY BROWN

Chris Powell, inset, is director of Edison House Group in Ipswich Picture: DAVID GARRAD/SARAH LUCY BROWN


Businesses owed thousands of pounds by an Ipswich firm will get back just 3p for every £1 owed.

The site of Edison House in Ransomes Europark Picture: SAVILLSThe site of Edison House in Ransomes Europark Picture: SAVILLS

Edison House Limited, formerly CJ Electrical (Ipswich) Limited, appointed a voluntary liquidator in October 2017, owing creditors an estimated £166,000 at the time.

But the latest liquidators' report, filed by Steven Law of RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP in November 2019, found the total creditor claims had risen to £311,000, including £135,000 to HMRC.

The report added that creditors are expected to receive just 3p in every £1 owed, although this may be subject to change.

The website for Edison House Group - the current name for the group of companies - says it was founded in 1988 by Chris Powell as an electrical contracting service.

It says the company had since grown into a "multi-layered organisation" operating in markets such as renewable energy and online furniture.

In 2016, Edison House Group was listed 29th in the Suffolk top 100 companies - and was said to be the county's fasted growing business.

Alan Holmes, a customer who dealt with the company's solar division, paying around £7,000 for eight roofing panels at his Oxfordshire home in November 2014, said he had at first been impressed by their products and customer service.

But in December 2019, his generation meter, which monitors the solar panels' performance, stopped working.

When Mr Holmes called the number on the company's documentation, he claims he was told by a member of staff that he was not eligible for a repair or replacement, as the company had gone into liquidation.

Mr Holmes, 75, found documents on Companies House confirming that the company had been liquidated.

But he also noticed its director and owner, Mr Powell, had set up a new business, CJ Electrical Contracting Services, which provided similar services from the same address at Ransomes Europark - and used the same phone number.

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Companies operating as trading divisions of CJ Electrical Contracting Services today include CJ Electrical, CJ Solar and CJ Air Conditioning.

Mr Holmes said he felt let down that the company had apparently been able to end obligations to former customers by going into liquidation - only for its directors to continue running other related businesses from the same trading address.

"I've since had a quote from another company to replace the part for £200 - but it's the principle that really bothers me," he said.

The company insisted it has continued to honour the warranties of customers of Edison House Limited - and that had been a key factor when taking its decision to liquidate.

"We will be contacting Mr Holmes to establish more facts concerning his claim," a spokesman for the company added.

Mr Powell said there had been "numerous factors" in the decision to liquidate Edison House Limited, which came after restructuring.

Having been operating under the name CJ Electrical (Ipswich) Limited, since 1999, the company changed its name to Edison House Limited in 2014.

The following year, around 95% of the company's assets were transferred to the newly formed Edison Holdings Ltd, which later became Edison Group Ltd.

In November 2015 the trade and assets were transferred to Edison House Trading Limited and in January 2016 the electrical contracting division was transferred to CJ Electrical Contracting Services Limited.

Two years later, the original company, which had now had most of its assets removed, appointed voluntary liquidators.

The director's statement of affairs estimated assets of £25,309 and creditors owed £166,890. The company was found to be insolvent.

Mr Powell said the decision to move assets to two new companies reflected the expanding range of markets it was involved in, which had become so varied they no longer made sense to include under one name.

He said it was unrelated to the later liquidation of Edison House Limited.

"As with any business groups, there are always a number of reasons for organisational restructures and many factors have to be taken into account prior to undertaking what can be a very time consuming, disruptive and costly exercise," a spokesman said.

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