Inglis’ farmer creditors paid less than 2p in the pound

Farmers and other unsecured creditors have been paid just 1.82p for every £1 they are owed by failed grain merchant Alexander Inglis & Son.

The company went into administration in May 2021, with the initial administrator’s report showing farming businesses accounted for more than one-third of 166 unsecured creditors owed more than £6m.

See also: Administrators’ report reveals devastation of grain trade failure

Some were owed well into six figures for grain and other crops they had supplied.

Morpeth-based farmer co-op North East Grains received a cheque this week for £842 of the £46,000 it was owed for crops.

Managing director Matthew Curry said: “We took a hit as unsecured creditors, but the situation is horrendous for individual farmers who supplied the Inglis business.

“They have been out of pocket for the grain they supplied for more than two years now, and the knock-on effect of that, combined with everything else that has happened over the past two years and the rise in input costs, makes things desperate for some of them.

“In our industry trust is so important, but contracts are imperative now. All that some of those farmers had was a weigh ticket and that doesn’t prove ownership.”

Storage issues

In addition to the money owed for crops sold to Alexander Inglis & Son, many farmers, co-ops and merchants had their own grain stored with the business, which became the subject of a complex set of claims and hearings before some of it was released by court order.

There were also multi-million pound claims by customers who had bought grain from the business, but which had not yet been supplied.

North East Grains, which in late 2021 added 40,000t to its capacity through the purchase of the former Inglis store at Swarland, spent thousands of pounds on legal fees in trying to get court orders to compel the administrators to release stored grain.

A further knock-on effect of the Inglis administration is that the co-op’s grain insurance costs have tripled.

Unsecured creditors had been told to expect to recover about 9p in the pound, with the most recent administrators’ report (May 2023) estimating that a maximum potential payout of about £600,000 would be available for them.

Among the farmer creditors, 23 businesses were owed more than £50,000, and their claims alone totalled £2.924m. Several were owed more than £100,000 and some more than £200,000.

Arrests related to Alexander Inglis & Son grain business

Four people have been arrested in relation to the collapse of Alexander Inglis & Son. 

Responding recently to an inquiry from Farmers Weekly, a Police Scotland spokesman said: “Three men aged 75, 48 and 49 years, and a 76-year-old woman have been arrested in connection with a fraud following a police enquiry relating to a business registered in the Ormiston area of East Lothian.”

A report is to be submitted to the procurator fiscal, the Scottish equivalent of the Crown Prosecution Service.