SEA View Coaches was losing money and seeking a buyer when the coronavirus put paid to hopes of a rescue, it has been revealed.

Seventeen people were made redundant when the long-standing Poole coach company went into administration in April.

Administrators now intend to sell its assets and liquidate the company, their latest update days.

It is hoped that creditors will eventually be paid in full.

A report by joint administrators Neil Vinnicombe and Simon Haskew, of administrators Begbies Traynor, says of the company: “It traded profitably for a number of decades but first experienced difficulties in 2016.

“Sales saw a decline due to the number of new competitors; combined with the winter period, which was always low in sales, cash flow became increasingly tight.”

Sea View Coaches goes into administration

Some of the company’s coaches were re-financed to raise cash to cover overheads, but in recent months “sales declined to their lowest numbers”.

The workforce was reduced by half and many staff were on zero hours contracts or working part-time.

The firm was urged by its bankers to take advice from Begbies Traynor last October, after the company’s accountants wrote a letter of concern about its losses with winter approaching.

“We met the directors and financial controller and suggested that the directors seek to sell the business as it had not been making a profit for some while and had to regularly refinance assets to raise cash to see it through the winter period,” the joint administrators said.

17 redundancies as administrators seek buyer for Sea View Coaches

The directors of Sea View Coaches found a potential buyer locally, but the would-be buyer “was engaged in another transaction” and would not be able to go ahead until at least February 2020.

In the meantime, the directors sought to sell the Fancy Road premises and were on the point of exchanging contracts when the coronavirus crisis struck.

The would-be purchaser “significantly reduced their offer” and the directors pulled out.

“In March, as the lockdown restrictions were announced, this meant that all future bookings were cancelled and with no future income, the directors saw no way of the company’s financial situation improving,” the report says.

“After discussing various options, it was concluded that the company should be placed into administration.”

The report shows HSBC is owed £172,055, while staff are owed £2,215 in holiday pay. Unsecured creditors’ claims are expected to total £203,797.

The administrators initially thought a buyer might be found to take over the business, but have since concluded that they will need to sell all the assets and liquidate the firm.

An offer has been received for the premises.

The joint administrators say the creditors could be paid in full.