Auto repair firm rescue deal saves 70 jobs

A pre-pack administration deal arranged by insolvency specialists Begbies has seen 70 jobs saved at a motor repair chain which operates two sites in Liverpool. Tony McDonough reports

Keith Tully, partner at Begbies Traynor in Liverpool. Picture by Dominic Salter

 

A rescue deal for a North West auto repair chain with two sites in Liverpool has saved the jobs of 70 people.

Crossleys is a body shop and accident repair centre which has been owned and operated for the last 20 years by Martin Cross. It operates from two sites in north Liverpool and another two in Poulton-le-Fylde.

However, the business took a hit during multiple COVID-19 lockdowns. This not only reduced turnover but also the availability of key parts required for the repair of vehicles. Staff absences due to furlough, illness and isolating due to COVID also compounded the company’s problems.

Insolvency specialists at Begbies Traynor were called in to find a buyer for the business and assets of the stricken venture. This has led to a successful sale, via a pre-pack administration deal, to M & B Motors (North West), ensuring the employees would keep their jobs.

Keith Tully, partner at Begbies Traynor in Liverpool, said: “We will see more examples of businesses like this across the region that are on the brink of financial collapse but who seek to restructure, refinance and bolster their existing management teams to lead them out of trouble and emerge stronger in the post-pandemic era.”

In late January warned firms across Liverpool city region to “brace themselves for a wave of insolvencies this year”. It revealed 8,993 firms in the city region were operating under significant financial distress in the fourth quarter of 2021 – a 3% rise on the previous three quarters (8,719).

Now, with COVID state aid and extra protection measures from creditors being phased out, the firm is warning of an “insolvency storm” in the coming months. In the third quarter of 2021 there was a fall in the number of firms in distress but since then the picture has deteriorated.

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