Unrecoverable losses from the fallout of the Metamorph Group have tipped over £20m – with more firms in the network still to reveal their outstanding debts.
Newly-published liquidators’ reports for BPL Solicitors and Metamorph Group Services Limited show nothing will be available to repay creditors of either entity.
BPL Solicitors, a Dorset firm of 100 staff bought by Metamorph in 2017, was subject to Solicitors Regulation Authority intervention in 2023.
Liquidators from insolvency firm Macintyre Hudson reported that the firm’s only remaining asset is £516.24 in cash at the bank. There are no realisations from the estimated £200,000 of work in progress and nothing to be clawed back from £62,000 of trade debtors.
At the time of the liquidation, BPL had an outstanding balance due to its IT service provider, the sole entity with centralised access to all of the Metamorph systems, including the email server, staff information, asset details and financial records. Liquidators said they were unable to settle the debts owed to the IT provider and so have been unable to access company records.
‘This has severely impacted the joint liquidators’ ability to both recover assets and complete out investigations into the affairs of the company,’ added the report.
BPL’s debt to its bank HSBC was estimated at £3.2m, with a further £1.7m owed to HM Revenue & Customs. Six claims with a total value of £5.4m have been received from unsecured creditors.
The report suggests that there will be further probes into the company’s affairs after the liquidators identified ‘further matters to be investigated’. No details were provided ‘so as not to prejudice any potential future legal action’.
The same liquidators have also handled the winding-up of Metamorph Group Services Limited, which was incorporated to hold employment contracts for group employees and provided HR, office support, IT and other non-chargeable functions. Prior to the liquidation the directors arranged for certain employees to be transferred to Knowles Benning, another firm in the group. It is estimated that the services group owes £2.7m to HMRC but that no dividend will be paid.
Around 70 staff formerly employed by the services group were awarded £570,000 in total by an employment tribunal over the company's failure to consult with them during their redundancies.
It was revealed last month that another of the Metamorph network, West Yorkshire firm Beaumont ABS, owes more than £7m. Creditors are unlikely to receive anything back.
At its peak the Metamorph Group had more than 650 staff from a network of 15 offices, following a series of acquisitions between 2016 and 2021.
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