Petitions have been present in the High Court by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills to wind-up, in the public interest, five companies involved in marketing plots of land as investment opportunities.
The petitions to wind up Pemberton International Limited, Eldon International Limited, Willow International Limited, Allied Investment Management Limited and Abacus Investment management (London) Limited (see Editors notes below) were presented following confidential enquiries carried out by Companies Investigation Branch (CIB) under section 447 of the Companies Act 1985, as amended.
On the application of the Secretary of State the Official Receiver has been appointed by the Court as provisional liquidator of the companies. The role of the Official Receiver is to protect the assets and financial records of the companies pending determination of the petitions.
As the matter is before the Court no further information will be made available until the petitions are determined. The petitions are all listed for hearing on 31 March 2010.
The application to appoint a provisional liquidator was first heard on 8 October 2009, but at this hearing the companies, through their directors (see Editors notes below), offered to give undertakings to the Court as to their future conduct and to cease trading pending the determination of the petitions. The Court accepted that these undertakings were sufficient to protect the public interest pending trial of the petitions. The undertakings however were not fully complied with and accordingly the Secretary of State returned to Court on 17 December 2009 with a further application to appoint a provisional liquidator. The companies did not oppose this further application. The Court accepted there had been a failure to comply with the undertakings and ordered the appointment of the Official Receiver as provisional liquidator of the companies.