The jobs of 32 estate agents working at a high-end chain have been saved after the firm and its assets were sold by administrators.
Penyards Country Properties, an eight branch Hampshire agency founded in 1988, had debts of over £1 million and has been the subject of a 'pre-packaged sale' out of administration.
The name Penyards will be retained by its new owners Number 17 Marketing Ltd, which purchased the firm and its assets for £180,000 but has not taken on any of the debts.
Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs is owed almost £500,000 by the agency, with Lloyds and Newsquest also owed significant sums of money.
The firm posted losses of £131,00 at the end of 2014 and administration firm BegbiesTraynor was called in on May 17 after Penyards racked up debts as a result of 'increased competition, lower fees and online marketing'.
“The company had been facing tough trading conditions in a sector we all recognise has continued to struggle, so it was therefore imperative that we acted quickly in order to ensure that people’s jobs were preserved," says Gavin Savage, director of BegbiesTraynor's Southampton office, who managed the sale.
Penyards' founders, Graham and Lisa Evans are to be kept on as consultants, according to the Hampshire Chronicle.
The lettings division of Penyards, which has operated as a separate business since it was purchased in 1995, retains 500 landlords and is not in financial difficulties.
Its managing director, Alan Davis, told the Hampshire Chronicle that he was sorry to hear about Penyards Country Properties' administration but reassured clients that his business remains 'buoyant'.