A COMPANY that sold investment opportunities in renewable energy plants has been shut down after it failed to pay back millions of investors’ funds.

Darlington's UK Renewable Investments (AD) was wound up last week by District Judge Khan in the Business and Property Courts in Manchester.

In considering the petitions to wind-up the company, the court heard that between July 2015 and September 2016, UKRI sold corporate bonds to 208 people. £2.5m was raised and investors were told their funds would go towards developing anaerobic digestion plants that generated renewable energy.

The majority of the £2.5m raised was loaned to Bio Green Energy to pay for the construction of 15 anaerobic digestion plants in Northern Ireland. Each plant was to be held in a separate special purpose vehicle company owned by Bio Green.

However, the plants were never completed and all 15 of the SPVs have since been dissolved. Bio Green itself was placed into Administration in May 2017 and as a result, the company could not repay the capital and interest rates due on its loan from UKRI.

This meant UKRI was unable to meet the loan principal and interest payments due to the bondholders.

Investigators also found that Bio Green has only paid loan interest to UKRI totalling around £15,000, while UKRI has only made interest payments to its bond holders of just over £14,000.

The court found that UKRI’s bond scheme had failed and because the company was insolvent, it was unable to meet its liabilities, including what was owed to investors.

It was also accepted that UKRI had traded with a lack of commercial probity.

David Hope, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: "Despite accepting millions of pounds of investments from members of the public, the company failed to exercise appropriate governance and control over how those monies were spent.

"Unfortunately it is the investors who will suffer and this should serve as a warning that there are strict obligations companies need to adhere to."