MERSEYSIDE green energy specialist Eco Enviroments has gone into liquidation – but two of its three directors have now set up a new company under the same name.
On Wednesday this week, creditors of the company, based in Wellington Employment Park near Liverpool’s docks, were called to a meeting at the Village Hotel in Whiston where it was formally liquidated.
The insolvency was handled by restructuring specialists FRP Advisory and it is understood the firm owed several hundred thousand pounds to its creditors.
It was agreed that two of the directors – Mike Clarke and Mark Buchanan – would purchase the equipment, goodwill and name of the failed business in order to start a new firm. It is understood that the third director, David Hunt, is not part of the new venture.
Eco designed, installed and commissioned technologies including solar, wind turbines, solar thermal, air source heat pumps and energy efficient lighting.
It enjoyed rapid expansion thanks to the Government’s feed-in tariffs scheme which sees homes and businesses paid for any excess electricity they generated.
In its last set of accounts for the year to March 31, 2012, filed at Companies House, Eco reported a turnover of more than £6.2m – a big rise on almost £1.4m for the previous year. Pre-tax profit was up to £168,000 from £122,000.
At that time it was employing around 50 people but since then the company was believed to have been hit by a downturn in trade and just prior to the liquidation, was employing 23 people.
It was not helped by confusion over changes to the feed-in tariff scheme which deterred some potential customers from investing in alternative energy and by pressure to pay money owed to the taxman.
Mr Buchanan said the new venture would employ around a third of the staff and would honour all installations arranged via the previous business.
In a statement, the new firm said: “The company was a highly respected and robust local company but the impatience of the Crown has now forced the directors into the immediate restructuring of the business.
“As such, two of the directors Mike Clarke and Mark Buchanan, will be taking the business forward and honouring all existing customers installations and guarantees and delivering the same high levels of installation work for all ongoing and future customers.
“They look forward to being able to operate in a marketplace that now at least has some clarity and certainty around the Government’s plans for energy and carbon reduction.”
Mr Hunt, Mr Clarke and Mr Buchanan first met as parents on the school run in Formby and began discussing business ideas. Mr Hunt and Mr Clarke initially started the venture in late 2007 with Mr Buchanan joining in 2010.
Eco Environments offices were established in Newcastle, Leeds, Birmingham, Carlisle and St Asaph.