Colchester Council in final stages of hibernating two of its Amphora companies

PUBLISHED: 5 March 2024

Date issued: 5 March 2024

Colchester City Council is in the final stages of completing the hibernation of two of its wholly owned companies Colchester Amphora Homes (CAHL) and Colchester Amphora Energy (CAEL).

A report from Colchester Commercial (Holdings) Ltd Board will be discussed at the Council's Governance and Audit Committee this evening (5 March 2024), which takes Councillors through the formal hibernation decision for CAHL, including disposal of its assets and the treatment of agreements with third parties. This process is similar to that agreed already for CAEL. 

The Council’s decision to hibernate CAHL and CAEL followed a review of all its wholly owned companies and is in line with the recommendation by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).

The full costs of hibernating the two companies cannot be established until the end of the financial year, however, the Council’s S151 Officer (who is responsible for advising the council on its finances) set out a likely range of costs of up to £2.5 million in his report to Council, when the Budget was agreed last month. To ensure the impact is minimised specialist advice will be sought to support this final part of the process. The S151 Officer has also stated that the Council has adequate reserves to cover these costs.

Cllr Mark Cory, Portfolio Holder for Resources, said: “In 2023, we took the responsible action to look at whether these companies remained suitable tools given how the risks facing the council have changed, due to the current volatile economic climate, and decided to hibernate Colchester Amphora Homes and Colchester Amphora Energy. This was the right and responsible thing to do.

“Although there are some costs to the hibernation process, it could have been much worse if we carried on and did nothing. There are always costs associated with the hibernation process, and we will look to deal with this in the best way we can.”

Colchester Amphora Trading Ltd (CATL) continues to run and delivers a range of services, including events management, CCTV, helpline operations and improved fibre connectivity.

Cabinet will discuss the recommendations from the Governance and Audit Committee at its meeting on 13 March 2024. The hibernation process for CAHL and CAEL will be completed by 31 March 2024.

Page last reviewed: 5 March 2024


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