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After nine months of trading under a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), Buss Murton has completed a pre-packed administration.
The Tunbridge Wells-based firm faced near-collapse after ambitious growth plans laid down by a previous management team left it saddled with £3m debts. Last November senior partner Alan Williams told The Lawyer that the firm’s problems had stemmed from “bad decisions” in the 1990s that had created a high level of debt.
“The hope had been within the firm that it would be able to trade out of the situation. What we realised in the past year was that was unlikely to be the case,” he said (The Lawyer, 17 November 2008).
Consequently, Buss Murton adopted a CVA scheme enabling it to restructure its debt.
The firm went into pre-packed administration on 19 June and emerged last week as Buss Murton Law.
Williams and chief executive Stuart Burnop have both assumed equity partner positions, with former equity partners Corinne Browne and Robert Sedgwick becoming consultants.
“Effectively, we’re through the bad times,” Williams said. “The debt backlog had cramped our progress - now it’s time to take the brakes off.”
The new firm expects to turn over more than £3m in the first financial year under its new structure. It will have six partners, 19 lawyers and a total staff of 51.
In April Hextalls became the first top-200 firm to enter pre-packed administration, remerging as Hextalls Ltd.
A pre-packed administration allows firms to set up a new business that can collect outstanding payments from clients of the original venture.