A High Court ruling has found Companies House liable for the demise of Taylor & Sons Ltd, after they erroneously recorded that the Cardiff based company had been wound up. In reality, the wound up company was an entirely unconnected company called Taylor & Son Ltd without an ‘s’. By the time Companies House, an executive agency of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, tried to correct its mistake three days later, it was already too late for the Cardiff engineering firm. Companies House had already sold the false information to credit reference agencies,” said Philip Davison-Sebry, 57, former managing director and co-owner of Taylor & Sons Ltd who said “we lost all our credibility as all our suppliers thought we were in liquidation. It was like a snowball effect.” In fact, within just three weeks, all of the company’s 3000 suppliers had been in touch to terminate orders and credit facilities were withdrawn.
Despite attempts to reassure customers and suppliers that there had been a mistake, the business, which was established in 1875, proved impossible to save. It lost its best customer in Tata Steel, which had provided it with a £400,000-a-month income and contracts to construct three Royal National Lifeboat Institution stations never materialised, costing £3m in lost business.
It seems that the one-letter mistake was recorded on the companies register on 20 February, 2009 and within two months the company, which employed 250 people, had gone into administration.
After a four year legal battle, Mr Davison-Sebry has emerged victorious when a High Court judge ruled this week that Companies House was legally responsible for Taylor & Sons’ catastrophic loss of business and ultimate collapse.