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Failing Humberts has yet to file accounts for 2015, official records show

Venerable sales and lettings business has clearly been in trouble for some time as Companies House records show late financial reporting.

Nigel Lewis

Troubled estate agent Humberts failed to file its accounts for the financial year ending 2016, results which were supposed to be submitted to HMRC over seven months ago, records at Companies House show.

Its most recent accounts, submitted in March last year for 2014, showed a loss of £1.5 million, an improvement on the previous year’s losses of £2.9 million.

Managing Director Ian Westerling (pictured, below) on Friday announced that Humberts was to go into voluntary administration for the second time in a decade ahead of attempts to find a buyer for the most profitable parts of the company.

He also predicted that redundancies at the firm’s HQ and directly-operated branches would follow.

The company has 22 locations in mainly rural areas, Eight of which are franchised following a switch in direction in late 2016.

It has a single office in London, three in the East Midlands, one in East Anglia, four in the South East, 11 in the South West and two in the North.

The announcement that it was to go into administration flew in the face of recent announcements that appeared to show the 174-old company was in rude health. This included appointing a new head of franchising and plans to expand its franchisee network into double figures.

Humberts also revealed in February that it had partnered with proptech deposits alternative Canopy to offer its rental passport product to tenants, and had launched a hybrid lettings operation.

Administration

In 2009, at the height of the global recession following the financial crisis Humberts and Chestertons merged after difficulties at both companies which included Humberts being briefly placed into administration in 2008.

In 2014 the two brands de-merged but continued to be owned by a single parent company which sold off Humberts’ lettings business, a decision that was later reversed when Humberts subsequently went it alone.

In March last year it hired senior industry figure Suzanne Diamond to beef up and expand its lettings operation.

In an apparent bid to prop the business, Humberts was lent an undisclosed sum against the value of its UK assets by Virgin Islands-based Humberts International in March.

April 30, 2018

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