Administrator appointed to prominent ten-branch agency as ‘staff fear loss of jobs’

An administrator has been appointed to a prominent estate agency.

Roberts and Co was the subject of a winding-up petition filed by HMRC this week.

The firm’s directors include Alan Darlow MBE, 69, who previously founded major south Wales estate agency Darlows, which was built up into a 100-chain business in Wales and the west country but went into receivership in 2000 .

Much of that business was bought by Spicerhaart, and Darlows continues to trade as a Spicerhaart brand.

Christopher Brooksbank, of business recovery firm O’Haras, has now told local media that he was appointed on Monday as administrator to Roberts and Co, which has ten branches according to its website.

Mr Brooksbank says that it is business as usual, although the South Wales Argos says that staff have contacted it saying that they fear they are going to lose their jobs.

Mr Brooksbank says he is looking to get the business sold as a going concern.

Robert & Co (Estate Agents) Ltd was on the Companies Court winding up list heard on Wednesday this week before insolvency and companies court Judge Mullen.

However, the petition was ordered to be suspended by the judge, who noted that an administrator had already been appointed.

The firm is registered in Newport and incorporated in 2002, according to Companies House, which notes that a confirmation statement is overdue. It does not appear to have filed its accounts since October 2018.

The firm sold its lettings and property management in November 2017 to Connells Group brand Peter Alan, with 17 members of staff going with the sale.

It was said at the time that the sale would allow Roberts & Co to re-invest and expand its sales and mortgages business, and remain a leading agent in the region.

Roberts and Co is a member of the Relocation Agent Network and is in the current Best Agent Guide, awarded ‘best medium estate agency Wales 2019’.

EYE has attempted to contact Alan Darlow and fellow director Ben Hollingsworth for comment.

Darlow, who was appointed MBE for his charity work, opened his first chain of estate agents at 25, selling that company to Halifax where he became a regional director before opening Darlows in the nineties.

He starred in his own TV adverts back in the 1980s, and also has showbiz connections, backing a David Essex musical, All the Fun of the Fair.

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  1. J1

    Unfortunately there will be more this year.

    As tax and Vat bills arrive at the same time, after a really quiet six months there will be many short of cash.

    Regional agents with big central overheads and non fee earning greedy Directors are possibly the most vulnerable.


    1. Property Pundit

      ‘As tax, Vat bills and notice of a massive rise in their Rightmove fees arrive at the same time, after a really quiet six months there will be many short of cash’.

  2. MarkJ

    Oh the irony….. that the advertising panel to the right on this page has an ad “Sell Your Business Direct to Spicerhaart” .

    As the above story mentions…the original Darlows chain was sold by its receivers to Spicerhaart 20 years ago.

    Roberts is Darlows 2 ‘The Sequel’…..its offices and branding look fairly similar to the original Darlows.


    However since Spicerhaart already have a chain in the area so I doubt they’ll be coming in for all 10 offices this time…

    I noticed yesterday afternoon that all Roberts properties had disappeared off Rightmove but were still on Zoopla. However by 6pm they were back on Rightmove…




  3. fluter

    I guess the directors will dig deep to ensure the staff are all paid and their liabilities met?

  4. whatdoiknow58

    Maybe Mrs Darlow could buy the company back off the receiver and re-install her husband as Chairman just like the company who went bust in the North East a while back?

  5. Propman4

    Yes it was Sanderson Young, based in Gosforth. I think the director in question has been given an 12 month extenion to pay off other liabilities.

    1. whatdoiknow58

      Thanks for the update on the company name I remember the story featured on PIE awhile back but the name didn’t stick in my mind. These people must have the hide of a Rhino. Doubt whether HMRC ( us tax payers ) will see a penny back though and neither will all the creditors I suspect probably be offered 20p in the pound although one or two ( with broad shoulders ) may get a bit more!


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