Sea View Coaches staff taken on by Excelsior

Go-Ahead-owned Excelsior Coaches has taken on drivers of the now defunct Sea View Coaches (Poole) Ltd. The Bournemouth-based company will also be honouring Sea View Coaches bookings.

Poole-based Sea View Coaches went into administration last year at the start of the pandemic. At the time, 17 drivers lost their jobs.

“Sea View Coaches was an incredibly well-respected and much-loved operator” – Andrew Wickham, MD of Excelsior Coaches

Andrew Wickham, MD of Excelsior Coaches, said: “This has been an especially difficult year for everyone – including bus and coach companies – and, despite hopes of a rescue bid by a potential buyer early in 2020, the pandemic meant it did not proceed.

“Sea View Coaches was an incredibly well-respected and much-loved operator, and many of its customers were left disappointed when bookings had to be cancelled. Of course, the cost to the company’s drivers was even higher.

“Many people – local and from further afield – are planning to take ‘staycations’ this year, and a number of customers who lost their bookings will be no different.

“In view of this, we have taken on several of the bookings – and we have also employed some Sea View Coaches drivers who lost employment through no fault of their own.

“This year promises to be a very busy and successful one for the tourism industry across Dorset, and our team is excited to be helping people discover the many gems the county has to offer.”

Administration to liquidation

Sea View Coaches was founded during the mid-1960s with a single coach, primarily to transport staff of an engineering company to and from the developing Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Winfrith. The company soon developed a private hire operation and diversified and expanded. It had a licence to run 25 vehicles.

Following the successful conclusion of the administration of Sea View Coaches, sufficient assets have now been realised to allow a significant dividend to be paid to the creditors of the company.

To facilitate formal agreement of the creditor claims and payment of the dividend, the administration has been converted to a liquidation. This is because only a liquidator has the power to agree unsecured creditor claims and make a subsequent distribution to them.

Neil Vinnicombe from Begbies Traynor, who was the administrator and is now a joint liquidator, said: “If the company’s tax position and other larger claims can be agreed as envisaged this may result in full or almost full repayment for the creditors. This would be a fantastic result for the unsecured creditors and a fitting conclusion following the sad demise of this long-established company that became an early victim of the first lockdown. This was not envisaged at the outset but a ‘bidding war’ on the company’s main asset, the freehold property it owned, has really enhanced the asset pool helping to facilitate a larger return to unsecured creditors.”

Neil added that in his 35-year career he has only once before seen repayment in full for creditors following a formal insolvency process.

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