BLG pays up after falling into arrears with Halliwells’ administrators

Barlow Lyde & Gilbert (BLG) has repaid more than £232,000 to failed firm Halliwells’ administrators after initially withholding the sum, which was owed as part of BLG’s 2010 purchase of Halliwells’ insurance practice.

BLG Claims LLP, which bought Halliwells’ defendant-focused insurance practice last summer, had paid £2,267,859 as part of the asset purchase agreement but fell into arrears after withholding £232,141, according to a report by BDO administrators Dermot Power and Shay Bannon.

The firm entered into discussions with the administrators and has now repaid the sum.

A spokesperson for BLG commented: “An amount was withheld as part of general business discussions pending the concluding aspects of the agreed transaction being finalised. This sum has now been remitted.”

The spokesperson said the repayment had nothing to do with BLG’s impending merger with Clyde & Co.

National firm Gateley, which acquired a number of Halliwells practices including banking and finance, corporate and real estate, had also fallen into arrears, owing the administrators a total of £500,000. The firm agreed to pay the amount by 11 August.

In a statement, Gateley partner Michael Ball said: “We can confirm that the £500,000 of additional consideration was paid on time to BDO on 10 August 2011.”

The news comes as documents reveal that BDO has so far billed £1,066,201.60 for work done on Halliwells’ administration, equating to 5,013 hours at an average rate of £212.69.

Former Halliwells partners Andrew Buchanan and Paul Rose have claimed £74,158.75 in relation to their roles as joint solicitor managers. In these roles the pair were charged with ensuring that throughout the administration Halliwells LLP complied with its duties as a body regulated by the SRA.

According to the BDO document Buchanan and Rose, who both received a share of cash from the firm’s reverse premium deal with its Spinningfields landlords (17 June 2011), have “ensured that the LLP has dealt with client monies in accordance with Solicitors’ Account Rules, continued to advise the joint administrators in respect of their obligations and assisted with regard to the allocation of client balances, live matters and archived files”.