Energy firm which folded owing £1m pins failure on boss’s death

An oil and gas firm which collapsed owing more than £1 million has blamed its failure on the death of its boss and falling sales.

Epic International Limited based on Vanguard Road Great Yarmouth went into liquidation last week owing thousands to contractors, suppliers and the taxman. The company appointed liquidators McTear Williams & Wood on September 23 having first consulted them on 29 August. The liquidator’s report showed the firm had debts of more than £1m, including £109,000 in VAT and £260,000 owed to subcontractors. Its creditors include 76 companies and individuals. It also owes £150,000 to employees and directors.

One contractor from Norwich, owed more than £10,000 said: “The company knew stuff was going on but they did not inform us and now they’ve not been able to pay us. It was a complete shock. We had seen the office get quieter but had no idea that it was going to happen. It is just a kick in the teeth. It is a few months’ wages.” He said contractors were told on Wednesday 25 September about the liquidation.

The business had traded successfully since 2003 but its difficulties began in February 2018 when its boss David Rowan died after a short illness, the liquidator said. Mr Rowan’s wife Kim took over and was the sole shareholder. The liquidators wrote: “Mr Rowan’s passing and forecasts that indicate continuing losses and the current uncertainty in the oil and gas sector forced Mrs Rowan to look to sell her 100pc shareholding and negotiations opened with an interested party. However these were ultimately unsuccessful”.

The company reported profits after tax of £250,000 for the year ending April 2018 on a turnover of £5.7m but last year turnover dropped to £3.9m and it made a loss of £266,000.

The liquidator said the directors’ reasons for failure were Mr Rowan’s death, falling sales and the ‘cyclical nature of the oil and gas sector”.

The firm employs eight office staff as well as 12 offshore staff and 40 offshore contractors. One contractor said all of the subcontractors had found work through another agency.” The industry is busy now,” he added.
1 October 2019

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