Tolent's inability to complete Milburngate in Durham brought it down. Credit: marketing materials

Tolent creditors to lose out on £46.7m

Unsecured creditors left in limbo by the Team Valley-headquartered construction group’s collapse into administration are unlikely to see any return, administrator Interpath Advisory said.

In an administrator’s update filed with Companies House last week, Interpath said that ordinary preferential creditors are likely to see some return on £600,000 owed, but that “it is unlikely that a dividend will be available to” secondary creditors owed a combined £2.7m.

Interpath similarly expects nothing to be available to the unsecured creditors owed £46.7m.

The administrator was appointed to Tolent Construction, Tolent Solutions, Tolent Living, Tolent Homes, Tolent PLC and Ravensowrth Properties in March after sliding further and further into trouble throughout 2022.

Last year saw the group trying to deal with significant losses on its largest contract, Milburngate in Durham, by selling assets and raising funds through a shareholder rights issue.

Tolent won the £84m first phase contract at Milburngate, a mixed-use project by the Arlington Richardson Development Partnership, in summer 2019, the contract being its largest ever job.

The scheme, on a six-acre riverside site, includes around 50,000 sq ft of office and 153 build-to-rent apartments. Although work is described as “substantially completed in 2022.” Premier Inn and boutique cinema chain Everyman are among the tenants unable to yet move in.

According to trade press reports, Arlington Richardson will look to complete the project itself.

Having been unable to hand over on Milburngate at the end of 2022, Tolent saw sales through December and January, traditionally a tough time regardless, come in significantly below those forecast.

At the time of the administrator’s appointment, Tolent had 16 live construction schemes across the North East and Yorkshire, while the group also included a facilities management business based in Teesside working across the industrial and chemicals sectors.

Interpath said that initially, it was aiming to secure accelerated sales of the construction business, ceasing operations and securing sites. However, no offers have been received to take on the contracts, meaning it is now focusing on maximising recovery of contract receivables.

Although the FM business has likewise remained unsold, Interpath has disposed of the business unit’s office and fittings, selling to Brims Construction.

Tolent also owns two other long leasehold office properties. Avison Young is advising Interpath on rental and sales strategy for Tolent’s properties, while quantity surveyor Gately Vinden is reviewing debtor ledgers and work in progress positions.

Tolent was founded in 1989, and employed 356 staff, 270 of whom were made redundant on the group’s entering administration.

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