ES Group Sold In Bits

One of the UK’s biggest staging and trucking firms has changed hands after going into administration, with debts believed to be in the region of £6 million.

Even as the affairs of ES Group were being placed in the hands of insolvency experts at PKF, the company was being split up and hived off to UK-based Transam and a consortium headed by Al Laith, a multi-faceted production and supply firm based in the United Arab Emirates. ES Group was formed from what was once Edwin Shirley Trucking and Edwin Shirley Staging.

The news of ES Group’s demise will likely send a shockwave through the production business, as it supplied either trucks or stages for clients including Madonna, Green Day, Elton John, and Rihanna. It was believed to be in line for several contracts relating to the 2012 Olympic Games.

ES went into administration Feb. 24 and the sales of the two parts were concluded on the same day.

The company’s bankers at HSBC held a debenture – or floating charge – over ES Group, which gave it a legal right to appoint an administrator and protect the company from a winding up action from any of its creditors.

PKF’s Steve Holgate says that in the end, the ES directors prompted the administration proceedings because last year the group took a big financial hit on a major project and wasn’t trading well enough to recover.

He said all ES Group creditors will be sent a letter explaining the details of how the business was so swiftly concluded.

He also said it’s too early to say how much money the creditors are likely to receive. ES Group is owed money and Holgate says it will also take time to examine the creditors’ claims.

He will call a creditors’ meeting at some point within the next 10 weeks.

Del Roll has confirmed that he and Ollie Kite, who’ve been running ES Group’s trucking, are moving to take up similar positions at Suffolk-based Transam.

There’s no confirmed news of what’s happening to other ES Group personnel such as managing director Tim Norman, financial director Michael Birke or Jeff Burke and Olly Watts.

Production industry rumours say the last two named are expected to move to Laith, along with ES’s staging company and its events business.

If the list of creditors includes firms who’ve already worked for ES on any project relating to The Games, which are largely publicly funded, there will likely be a public and media outcry if they end up not getting paid.