300 Miners Lose their jobs, Creditors Lose money, Injured Miner Loses out on Compo
In May 1997, Monktonhall Colliery Limited [MCL], Midlothian became insolvent and was put in liquidation which put 300 miners on the slag heap. At the time Peter Lawwell was a director of MCL and had been for a year. Even though a director, being a qualified Accountant [ACMA], Peter Lawwell cannot say he didn’t understand the companies accounts or was unaware of the passage of MCL from viable company to liquidation.
How much did the Creditors lose? How much did the HMRC lose? In the Court of Session, in April 1997, it was reported by The Herald that the company was £20 million in the red. Warning signs were obvious, a year before, on 15th April 1996, the Auditors resigned and MCL appointed Enron’s auditors, Arthur Andersen. Yet the company traded/limped on for a further year no doubt sucking in more credit from the Creditors.
There is also a case where a least one injured miner went to court to try and get damages he was owed for injuries sustained working for MCL but he couldn’t get them because of the liquidation. Now where have we heard of miners missing out on compensation before?
And what happened to MCL, was it saved by another Celtic director, then Scottish Office Energy Minister, Brian Wilson? Despite Wilson’s spin in The Herald about saving the 300 jobs, as you can see from the photo below, the site was cleared. Replacement jobs never eventuated and today, the site is still available to purchase from Collier International. To paraphrase William Wallace ‘You can erase the site, the 300 jobs and what is due to creditors but you cannot take our company & director filings’. And the proud history of the brave Monktonhall Colliery miners.
Appointed Director of Monktonhall Colliery Limited
Peter Lawwell was appointed a Director of MCL on 23rd April 1996:
Monktonhall Colliery Limited Timeline
Peter Lawwell was a Director of MCL for 12 months prior to it’s insolvency & liquidation. He was appointed in April 1996. The demise of MCL can be seen in the timeline of filings below. Note the following:
01 May 1996: Resignation of Directors Several directors & company secretary resign. New director, Peter Lawwell appointed.
15 May 1996: Resignation of the Auditor Must have been a dire financial situation for Auditor to resign a year before MCL went into insolvency. So the company still traded when it was known to auditors it would fail?
30 May 2003: Notice of Final meeting of Creditors How much did Creditors get back in the £?
Petition for Liquidation under the Insolvency Act
On the 25th April a Notice appeared in The Edinburgh Gazette appointing a liquidator under the Insolvency Act:
Listing Rules Disclosure
On Thursday 25th September 2003 Celtic PLC posted a Directorate Change on the stock exchange to announce Peter Lawwell’s appointment as Executive Director. In the announcement, as per the Listing rules it states: ‘Mr Lawwell was a director of Monktonhall Colliery Limited in the 12 months prior to its voluntary liquidation in April 1997. There are no further details to be disclosed under paragraphs 6F2 (b) to (g) of the Listing Rules relating to Mr Lawwell’s appointment.’ http://www.investegate.co.uk/celtic-plc/rns/directorate-change/200309251420301840Q/
Obviously under the Listing Rules you have to disclose whether any appointment has been a director of an insolvent/liquidated company in the near past.
Injured Miner misses out on Damages due to Liquidation
Joseph Aitken had to take MCL’s insurance company to the Court of Session in an attempt to receive damages for injuries he sustained working for MCL because they were liquidated.
‘The pursuer is a former employee of Monktonhall Colliery Limited (“MCL”). On 7 July 1996, while working in the course of his employment with them, he sustained injury. MCL went into liquidation on 9 May 1997. The pursuer raised an action in this court against MCL and its liquidator, concluding for damages in respect of his injuries. By interlocutor dated 6 July 1999 he was awarded damages of £22,500 inclusive of interest to that date. That sum has not been paid, and there is no likelihood of its being paid by MCL, since it is unlikely that there will be any dividend payable to ordinary creditors in the liquidation.’
Instead of being actually dismissed, the case was “put out By Order”, a Scottish procedure whereby the case is “returned” to the parties for further consideration in light of the court’s decision. In this case it doesn’t appear that the miner get his £22,500.
Wonder if the Directors got paid their fees?
Report of the Day
From The Herald on Tuesday 13 MAY 1997:
‘MONKTONHALL Colliery in Midlothian is to be ”aggressively marketed” throughout the world during the next month in a major attempt to find a buyer for the closure-threatened pit, Scottish Office Energy Minister Brian Wilson said last night. Talking after an hour-long meeting in Edinburgh with union representatives and local MPs, Mr Wilson said it was vital that everything possible was done to secure the jobs of the 300 miners who work there.’
How Much did Company Lose?
In The Herald report Thursday 24th April 1997 title ‘Monktonhall miners face ruin as liquidator appointed’:
‘Monktonhall Colliery Ltd was officially wound-up at the Court of Session when a statement of affairs revealed the company was almost £20m in the red. Its directors claimed it could no longer pay its debts and a provisional liquidator was appointed.’