Euro Auctions has announced the successful, if complicated, disposal sale of assets from Henry Construction Projects, after the company appointed administrators on 8 June 2023, becoming the largest firm to go under in the UK construction sector since October 2021.

Euro Auctions, global auctioneers of heavy plant machinery, construction & agricultural equipment, and Hilco Valuation Services were appointed to organise a full appraisal of all assets ahead of the live and online disposal auctions. The asset auction reached a hammer total of £1.6m, the company said in a press release. 

David Hudson of FRP Advisory was appointed the administrator of Henry Construction Projects.

Two sales

The first asset disposal was via an online sale on 6 July for equipment held in the Henry Construction yard located at Cranford, Hounslow, with additional equipment, from construction sites around central London transported to the live Leeds sale in early August 2023. 

The total sale figure for all assets was £1.6m which included Henry-owned items in addition to machinery assets on third-party finance, working with six independent funders.

With international registered bidders joining the initial yard clearance auction, the top buying countries, in order, were: the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Poland, Cyprus and the United Arab Emirates. 

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Buyers’ percentage of the total sale was: the UK 78%, Europe 21% and the Middle East the remainder of the sales.

Chris Osborne (above), the Euro Auctions sales manager responsible for this sale, said: “This was a challenging project, and it was soon evident this sale would not be without its difficulties. The first inventory was in the Henry yard where the majority of assets, small tools and materials were stored. With so many small items we faced a few challenges. Either the yard items could be sold ‘as-is’ in a job lot, or we could take some time and effort to sort and catalogue all lots in an orderly inventory, which is how Euro Auctions like to operate. We opted for the latter option, lining up lots in typical Euro Auctions fashion, and our painstaking efforts paid off, returning to FRP double the initial estimated sale valuation.”

“The second inventory included over 200+ pieces of plant and machinery recovered from, more than, 35 active Henry construction sites in central London, that needed collecting, and repatriating before being sent to the live August sale in Leeds.”  

“This was one of the most difficult aspects of preparing for this sale, where access to sites in and around central London was difficult, where permits were required to close roads and load machinery, where items were on high-rise construction sites and needed craning down. We liaised with multiple developers, security firms and contractors working across all of the sites to enable the recovery of assets. In four weeks, we recovered over 200 items including excavators, rollers, dumpers, man-lifts, concrete pumps, generators, bowsers, plus much smaller attachments.”

“Because FRP Advisory wanted to move quickly, and find buyers for this consignment, the decision was made to take this inventory to the scheduled August sale in Leeds and piggyback on Europe’s biggest plant and machinery auction. With this high-profile sale ready to go, the Henry consignment was put in front of an international audience of over 4,500 registered bidders who were looking for good stock and it was sold for true market value.”

“With collections still ongoing, from additional sites, that equipment will feature at our Leeds, September auction, which will conclude the disposal, by Euro Auctions of plant and equipment from Henry Construction Projects.”

Related story: UK construction industry squares up to economic challenges