Artisan Holdings wound up



Artisan Holdings, the vehicle which was used by entrepreneur Carol Ainscow to deliver many of her major schemes in the Ancoats area of Manchester, has ceased trading according to

The company, which was based in the former Daily Express building, Express Networks, off Great Ancoats St, was wound up at the High Court in Manchester on March 19 following a petition that was filed against the company in January.

A liquidator has been appointed to sell the company’s assets.

Ms Ainscow has lost control over a number of developments undertaken by Artisan over the past couple of years.

Artisan H Ltd, which was developing the Fox Hill scheme in Sheffield, was placed into administration in December and Artisan Holdings had previously been forced to write off the carrying value of its interest in Artisan Ship Canal Developments – a joint venture alongside Peel and Manchester City Council which eventually completed the Eastbank scheme in Ancoats without Artisan’s involvement.

The last accounts filed for Artisan Holdings in December last year covering the financial year to June 30, 2010, show that during the period it declared a loss of £1.7m on turnover of £768,024.

The loss was largely due to a £1.44m writedown in the value of property investments. It also declared a £500,000 loss on property disposals. The value of the company’s net assets also declined  by around 24% to £5.5m by the end of the financial year.

Notes to the accounts prepared by founder Carol Ainscow as the firm’s sole director argued that it was continuing to generate revenue from its commercial property portfolio, despite “very challenging market conditions”.

It also added that current leases were “in place for several years to come”, and that the company carried no bank debt.

However, it added that its investment businesses had been “adversely affected by current economic conditions”.

Auditors UHY Hacker Young made a number of disclaimers to the audit, stating that it only had “limited evidence” available to it as it hadn’t received cashflow forecasts or information on subsidiaries on which Artisan Holdings relies for support.

As a result, the auditor said that it was “unable to form a view as to whether the financial statements give a true and fair view of the state of the company’s affairs” at the year end.

At the time the accounts were filed, Artisan Holdings owned 100% of nine subsidiaries including Artisan Regeneration Ltd, Artisan H (Kings Waterfront) Ltd, and Activestream Ltd.

Ms Ainscow remains as a director of several other ventures which are still trading and are unaffected by the demise of Artisan Holdings, though. These include CH1234 LLP, which is redeveloping the former Brown Brothers brewery site off Trinity Way in Salford, which is being redeveloped into a 95-bed hotel.