Dozens of small businesses suffer after Halliwells’ collapse

Documents leaked to The Lawyer have revealed the full extent of collapsed firm Halliwells’ creditors.

The joint administrators, Dermot Power and Shay Bannon of BDO, made their first report to Halliwells’ creditors last week. Between them the creditors are owed £14.1m.

The largest sum is owed to HM Revenue & Customs, but the extensive list also includes small businesses, including florists, stationers and several chauffeur companies, as well as charity St John Ambulance.

The owner of one City sandwich shop that supplied Halliwells with thousands of pounds worth of food up until the day the firm collapsed believes the unpaid bills may result in job cuts at his business.

Daljit Randhawa, who runs Pavarotti’s Sandwich Bar on Threadneedle Street near Halliwells’ London office, said the firm ordered significant quantities of food in the weeks before it went bankrupt.

“They had a lot of meetings and took the p*ss,” added Randhawa. “I went on holiday and came back to find they must have racked up [a bill of] £3,500-£4,000.”

Documents indicate that Pavarotti’s was owed £2,000, but Randhawa claims he has evidence of unpaid bills totalling £6,500 dating back to November last year.

On 23 June, the day before Halliwells filed its notice of intention to appoint an administrator, Randhawa says the firm ordered food including spring rolls, chicken satays and crisps worth £319.26.

“I’m thinking of letting somebody go,” added Randhawa. “It’s bad enough with the recession, my business is down by 35 per cent as it is. This is a lot of money.”

The Lawyer contacted Halliwells’ former accounts department, but it did not return calls.