Please visit for confidential help and insolvency advice or email

Friday, 31 December 2010

HMRC to fine small businesses for poor record keeping

In a festive announcement, HMRC said that in 2011 they would be clamping down on small businesses that did not keep proper records and would issue fines for non compliance.

The “Business Records Checks” campaign will target all 4.9m small and medium sized businesses. Exactly what amounts to non compliance is not completely clear but the HMRC has given guidelines to its inspectors such as;
"analysis books not completed regularly – a system whereby the books are written up more than four weeks after the event is not as reliable as books completed contemporaneously."

For many small businesses the MD is the lead salesman, debt collector, accountant as well as payroll administrator. Having the HMRC tell you to have an immaculate record keeping system is just added stress when many business people are struggling.

The rise in VAT in January will be another headache for small businesses.

We agree with HMRC assertion that good record keeping will help businesses manage cash and make them less likely to fail. However, we fear that HMRC inspectors ideas of what amounts to non compliance may not be reasonable in the real world of business. Keeping an eye on cashflow is most important and we have tools on our site that you can use on our cashflow and cost cutting page. If you find your business is having difficulty paying VAT or Paye we can help.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Higher interest rates ahead; tidings of joy from the Bank of England

At last the Bank of England seem to be worrying about inflation? Today the Bank's Director of markets, Paul Fisher, has been wheeled out to get the message across.

He suggests to the Daily Telegraph's Philip Aldrick, that we should all be ready for interest rates of 5%  in the medium term.

On top of spending cuts and the austerity drive by the Coalition, this steep rise in interest rates could drive the economy into stagnation or even recession.

Well until then eat drink and be merry! That is my plan today anyway! Have a great Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at KSA Group.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Successful Company Voluntary Arrangement pays 100p in £1

According to Business Desk Yorkshire today, the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce has emerged from its company voluntary arrangement after paying 100p in the £1 to creditors.

A CVA was agreed in January 2010, with the Chamber agreeing to pay 78p in the pound within two years, but the arrangement has been completed inside 11 months and with the extra 22p also paid.

Download our FREE 89 page Experts Guide to Company Voluntary Arrangements now to learn all you need to know about this powerful restructuring tool.

CVA Experts Guide (Safe PDF download).

Call Keith Steven on 07974 086779 if you have any questions on CVA's

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Winding up petition dismissed for Sheffield Wednesday

Another football club escapes the HMRC!

HMRC's winding up petition was dismissed yesterday after Milan Mandaric paid the outstanding tax debts in full.

If there is a threat of a HMRC petition against your business don't wait for some millionaire football investors to bail the company out; take advice and ACT sooner not later. Our page gives fast guidance.

KSA is now seeing a much tougher attitude from HMRC on failed time to pay arrangements with the case often being passed quite quickly to HMRC Enforcement & Insolvency department in Worthing.

They will typically issue a 7 day warning letter. Click here for an example of what to expect

So the message is, if a creditor and or HMRC threatens a winding up petition make sure you act first.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Westler Foods in Administration

Westler Foods, based in Malton, has gone into administration after it was unable to finance a £15m funding shortfall in its defined benefits pension scheme.

In a statement the administrators said, "This is an uncommon and unfortunate situation of a well run and profitable business being compelled to enter insolvency specifically because of the scale of its pension deficit." they went onto say, "The company has a number of extremely interesting contracts so we are trading the business as a going concern while seeking a buyer."

The firm employs nearly 200 people at its Yorkshire base making a range of canned and pouched food products.

Pension issues in insolvency have been recently hightlighted in a case brought against Nortel Networks by the Pensions Regulator. We will blog on this case later.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Latest Liquidation reports now online

We are now publishing the liquidation reports pertaining to companies to which we have been appointed liquidators.

A liquidation report contains the following; Notice of our appointment, a report to the creditors outlining the circumstances, a statement of affairs (SOFA), estimated deficiency account, summary of recent financial history, and a list of creditors.

These documents are sent out to all creditors as required by the insolvency rules 1986.

Please find below the latest published reports;

Yavi Ltd Liquidation Report

Morris Builders Merchants Limited Liquidation Report

Adam Consulting Ltd Liquidation Report

Sapphire Construction Ltd Liquidation Report

Advice from entrepreneurs

Mike Southon, the FT columnist, speaker and writer of the Beermat Entreprenuer, has written a book called This Is How Yoodoo It. The book contains punchy and high quality advice from some of the UK top thinkers on entrepreneurship. Featured entrepreneurs are; Allan Leighton, Brent Hoberman, and yes I am in it as well.

The book has lots of ideas on a wide variety of topics, including getting started, sales, marketing and communication, finance, team building, mentoring, growing your business and dealing with recession. My piece in the book hightlights the need to act quickly if your company is in difficulty. As an entrepreneur I know how hard it can be to accept that you need help.
Entrepreneurs are experts at fixing problems, optimistic, and are driven business people. It is therefore very hard to accept that you cannot fix the cashflow problem facing your business. But sometimes you just have to admit that you need help. With my experiences I know what you are worried about – we will take your business away and that could not be further from the truth!

You have built up your business so make sure you do everything you can to save it. If you have a legal problem, you call your solicitor! If you have an accounting problem, you call your accountant! If you have a cashflow problem then call Keith Steven of KSA group.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Powerfuel of Hatfield in Administration

Powerfuel, has gone into administration after failing to raise enough money to work on carbon capture and storage technology at its Hatfield site near Doncaster. The firm, employs 380 people, and the administrators at KPMG are hoping to secure a buyer to protect jobs.

The business had already raised £164m from the European Union, as a grant to build the station but it failed to raise the rest required for the building of the station at a total cost of £800m.

KPMG administrator Richard Fleming explained, "The central goal of the administration is to sell the share capital of the mining and carbon capture and storage (CCS) development project which sits in Powerfuel, the parent company."

"The day-to-day business of both Powerfuel Mining and Powerfuel Power will not be affected by the sales process," he added.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Business and Software for sale

On the instructions of E Walls Esq. and W Harrison Esq. of KSA Group Limited, the Joint Administrators of Applied Information Limited:

Business Opportunity and Software Assets for Sale

ai 360

• A web based application providing 360° performance feedback,
appraisal and a personal development package for individual

Accelerate Achievement

• A web based application aimed at schools and other
organisations providing self evaluation against Ofsted and similar
inspection frameworks.

ai QA

• An organisational quality assurance and auditing package,
meeting high level Government security standards, used by the
public and private sectors to assess their position against quality

Located in South East England
For sale as individual lots, or as a whole.

The business is currently experiencing financial difficulties due to historic debt servicing and the requirement for further development capital.
A short notice sale of the business, by way of a sale of the assets followingAdministration, is now sought at the earliest opportunity.
Further details of this opportunity can be obtained, following completion of a confidentiality agreement, from the Information Pack which is available by request from

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The Business Distress Index

R3, the insolvency trade body, has interviewed senior financial controllers at over 500 companies and has come up with the Business Distress Index. Its findings have been published this week.

Decreased profits have been identified as the most common current sign of distress by 49 per cent of UK businesses. Other indicators of problems are the following;

14% of respondents are finding it difficult to pay invoices on time
13% have had to make redundancies.
6% say they have taken on new borrowing to pay down existing debt.
44% had falling sales.
14% have said they are having difficulty in paying invoices

Other interesting findings are that on the whole the respondents believed that the banks were more supportive than HMRC. Trade creditors were the biggest worry for small businesses. Debts were the biggest worry for manufacturing businesses.

On a regional basis it appears that the Midlands is showing more distress than other areas with 81% of respondents showing one or more signs of distress

This survey doesn't really tell us much at this stage but over time it may highlight trends or changes in business's outlook.

There was one interesting statistic which was that only 3% of those surveyed thought that they may go into an insolvency situation in the next 12 months. Confidence is good for business but they need to have a plan B incase things go wrong! If you think you may be insolvent then take a look at our pages on the tests for insolvency. At least be prepared and know your options.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Fuel Management Facilities Business for Sale

On instructions of E Walls Esq. and W Harrison Esq. of KSA Group Limited, the Joint Administrators:

Short Notice Sale Opportunity - Business for Sale by way of a sale of the assets.

Fuel Management Facilities Company

The company provides software based fuel management systems, together with fuel storage and dispensing solutions to road and marine transport fleet operators, in both public and private sectors.

Brief details of this opportunity are as follows;

• Originally established over thirty years ago
• Nationwide customer base, including many blue chip and
government organisations
• Highest recent annual turnover level was in 2008 when almost
£2,400,000 was generated, with around £1,800,000 in the last
financial year
• ISO 9001 accreditation

The business is currently experiencing financial difficulties due to historic debt servicing and the requirement for further development capital. A short notice sale of the business, by way of a sale of the assets following Administration, is now sought; quantified expressions of interest are therefore requested immediately.
Further details of this opportunity can be obtained, following completion of a confidentiality agreement, available by request from

Monday, 6 December 2010

Limited liability partnerships; What you need to know

James Mather, a Barrister at Serle Court Lincoln’s Inn, wrote in City AM recently that partners in a limited liability partnership (LLP) are not as safe as they might think, especially in an insolvency situation. The recent collapse of Law firm, Halliwells, has been a high profile failure of an LLP. A subject on which we have blogged in the past (Halliwells carved up in pre-pack administration).
The partners in a traditional partnership are no doubt worse off than their LLP counterparts, as they invariably need to pay creditors from their own pocket.

However, under insolvency law, even the most junior of partners in an LLP is treated much the same as a company director. In larger firms, this can be very tough on them as junior partners may be kept out of some of the more strategic decision making. Once a member of staff has been promoted to partner they do not always negotiate on the fine print. However if the partnership is insolvent the law requires that all the partners act in the “best interests of the creditors”.

If the LLP should have ceased to trade earlier than it did, i.e trading whilst insolvent all members are potentially liable to repay creditors' losses where they should have done more to cease trading. Of course, those with management responsibilities are likely to be most exposed. All members, too, may potentially have to repay any money received from the LLP – including salary and profit share – within the two years before it was wound up, a rule without equivalent for companies.

Personal guarantees from members for the LLP’s debts are are likely to be called upon if the LLP fails. If the LLP tries to reduce its partners liaibilites to those creditors' holding personal guarantees, when it is technically insolvent, then it will be seen as creating a preference to those creditors at the expense of the others.

As a shareholder of a company, it is possible to enjoy the benefits of ownership without being responsible for its management. In an LLP, some partners may not have a stake in the profits but all are potentially liable for its losses.

So if you are unsure or worried about the potential for losses or insolvency at your firm LLP or traditional partnership then give us a call or have a read of our partnership top 10 tips. Take a look at the tests for insolvency if you think your firm might be insolvent

We have experience of rescuing limited liability partnerships (LLP). See how we rescued an LLP law firm with a CVA

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Snow trouble for businesses

The press are having a field day on saying how poorly the transport system has coped in the bad weather. Other countries seem to cope better but they know they are going to get snow and it happens at roughly the same time every year, for 4 months. So they have greater investment in equipment and people to operate them. In the continental areas prone to snow, snow tyres and chains are generally required by law.

Of course the press and sniping people sitting in the comfort of their homes or offices don’t realise just how bad the country has been hit. In the north east a METRE of snow has accumulated; record cold temperatures and heavy snowfall mean that salt and grit just doesn’t work on the roads! Additionally most British drivers are ill equipped for snow, lack of experience and training coupled with ill equipped cars means blocked roads.

Many of us have been unable to get into work. Those relying on trains in the south are having delays of an hour or much more and the trains are on a go slow between stations. Few people in our head office Berwick have been able to come in and the other businesses near us are no shows either.

Any business that relies on movement around the country such as haulage, courier, travelling sales/consultancy may be experiencing problems. If you feel that these conditions are going to cause longer lasting cashflow effects then please get in touch as you should always have a plan B.

We are happy to talk on the phone for around 30-45 mins free of charge to let you know your options, set out a strategy and answer your concerns. With free tools like our daily cashflow we can equip you for the long winter ahead.

As we might be allowing more time to get home at the moment if you need to talk to us please call us on our mobiles Keith Steven 07974 086779, Eric Walls (IP) 07787 278527, Wayne Harrison (IP) 07879 555350.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Construction Companies have had a difficult November

November has been a very difficult month for construction companies. First of all Rok plc surprisingly went into administration and since then there has been a string of failures.

Last week, the Midlothian-based ERDC Group, went into administration. At its peak the company employed 0ver 200 people. The administrators have made 73 out of the 79 people redundant.

Also last week, two Hull based construction companies went into administration resulting in the loss of 90 jobs. Quibell & Son (Hull) Limited and Humber Joiners Limited were both part of Quibell Construction Group. The Hull companies, provided construction services mainly to the public sector, and according to the administrators have been loss making for a number of years. Margins on work was getting very tight and the slightest delay in payment has been the the last straw.

Finally, Irwins, a Leeds based construction business, went into administration with the loss of 56 jobs, leaving school, university and national trust sites with building work unfinished.

In a further blow to the construction industry, a major Austrian customer of Costain has gone into administration owing it £22m for the work done on the Belvedere energy-from-waste facility in London.
Other construction businesses to enter administration in November have been DB Russell Construction and Lowry Homes.
Apart from some knock-on effects from the failure of Rok plc it appears that many construction businesses are finishing off projects but have not won enough contracts going forward to keep them going.
There is another way for some of these companies. A company voluntary arrangement should be considered instead of administration if the business has a viable future and a proportion of their debts can be paid off over a 3-5 year period. A cashflow problem can be solved!

If you don't want to leave your construction business in the hands of the administrators then call us. A CVA can be a very effective rescue tool. If you have worries or doubts about the process read our mistruths page on CVAs

Friday, 26 November 2010

Morris Builders Merchants Liquidation Notice

KSA Group Insolvency Notice

Morris Builders Merchants Limited - Meeting of creditors

Creditors Voluntary Liquidation Notice

HMRC Time to Pay

Having talked to our contacts in the insolvency world, and worried company directors, it is clear that companies are finding it hard to secure an HMRC Time to Pay (TTP) deal.

To have a good chance you will need to have had a previously excellent tax compliance record and be putting forward a convincing case that you can stick with the arrangement. This would need to be backed up with credible financial forecasts and a business plan.

It should also be noted that many companies' TTP deals are coming to an end in 2011. Nonetheless, it should not be presumed they will get a new one.

If you think that the company is viable and the HMRC reject your application for a TTP then a company voluntary arrangement may be the best option

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Public Sector Jobs Website in administration.

Pearson Advertising & Marketing Ltd, the Stockton-based recruitment and marketing business, has appointed administrators at KPMG after a sudden fall in sales.

The business was heavily exposed to public sector recruitment as it ran the public sector jobs site at

As such, the administrators at KPMG said due to the spending cuts next year the business was not viable going forward and could not be sold as a going concern. All 60 staff have been made redundant, except one who is assisting the administrators.

Turnover in 2009 was £15.4m but fell to £10.3m in the year to the end of March 2010. Pre-tax profits more than halved to £74,000 from £164,000 in the same period.

This latest failure is not a great surprise, given the spending cuts, but as we have said before recruitment is vulnerable at the moment as many companies have relied heavily on public sector contracts.

Its the economy stupid!

Went to an interesting event this morning, courtesy of Gorkana, at Nomura's headquarters called "Its the economy stupid".

Taking questions and generally discussing the UK and world economy were the following;

Hugh Pym,
Chief Economics Correspondent, BBC
Iain Martin,
Deputy Editor, Wall Street Journal Europe
Neil Hume
Editor, FT Alphaville
Sam Fleming,
Economics Editor, The Times
Michael Wilson,
ex Sky News (Event Chair)

Big discussion topic with some big names in the media industry!

It hasn't escaped people's notice that the media have had an important role to play in the modern economy and the constant flow of news and opinion, has affected market sentiment and consumer confidence.

The overriding theme was we are all in this global economic turbulence together but there is no consensus what to do about it!

To expand on that point Hugh Pym pointed out that the Japanese were saying that Quantitive Easing (QE) was not a panacea and that deflation was the biggest risk to the global economy. Whereas other economists thought QE was "lighting an inflation bonfire" He also mentioned that many large corporates were hoarding cash and thus stunting growth. So it isn't just the banks not lending.

The panel also felt that the US was not showing economic leadership as it had in the past so the sovereign debt crisis was, in part, being fuelled by market fear. This fear mainly due to the fact that, as above, there is no consensus.

Neil Hume of the FT felt that unless countries are prepared to live by Germany's rules then there was a danger of collapse of the Euro. However, as the Euro was mainly a political project then if the political will is there then it can survive.

Interestingly, the panel said that the government were very worried, despite the "banker bashing", about the movement of capital and financial services out of the City towards Asia,
All in all, so much to discuss and so little time. I think that is how many of the politicians feel at the moment as well!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Liquidation reports now online

We are now publishing the liquidation reports pertaining to companies to which we have been appointed liquidators.

A liquidation report contains the following; Notice of our appointment, a report to the creditors outlining the circumstances, a statement of affairs (SOFA), estimated deficiency account, summary of recent financial history, and a list of creditors.

These documents are sent out to all creditors as required by the insolvency rules 1986.

Please find below the latest published reports

JB&V Ltd
Liquidation Report

Adjamiba Clubwear Limited
Liquidation Report

Taylor Woodworking Castleford Limited
Liquidation Report

Del Stone London Limited
Liquidation Report

Search and Secure Limited
Liquidation Report

Zero Group Limited
Liquidation Report

N.M. Digital Services Limited
Liquidation Report

Blogged by Robert Moore

Monday, 22 November 2010

Tonys Bar and Cafe Limited T/A Rosies Bar - Meeting of Creditors

KSA Group Insolvency Notice

Meeting of creditors - Tonys Bar and Cafe Limited T/A Rosies Bar

Creditors Voluntary Liquidation Notice

Facing HMRC Payment Problems?

HMRC is sometimes termed a "sophisticated creditor".  What do I mean by that?  Basically it means that HMRC knows all the tricks and techniques to use in order to get their money.   Of course, this is because they tend to be owed the most amount of money!  What is more, as the amount of tax owed is rarely in dispute, they do not need to first seek a County Court Judgement, followed by a Statutory Demand.  As such, they tend to go straight to issuing a winding up petition provided they are owed more than £750.

Due to this shorter time frame it is essential that if you are having problems paying HMRC then you need to urgently take action.  Perhaps take a look at our top tips for collecting your own debts  or review our top tips on cost cutting measures for business.  If you feel you have done all you can re collecting and saving money and are facing creditor pressure then please give us a call!

Please take a look at our new page on HMRC payment problems.

Friday, 19 November 2010

DB Russell Construction in Administration

DB Russell Construction, the North Somerset-based building firm which developed social housing, affordable housing and general building for local authorities,  has gone into administration. 

This is yet another builder exposed to the social housing and local authority market that has collapsed. This follows Rok and Connaught.  The events in this particular sector of the construction industry is one of the public faces of the spending cuts that are starting to bite.

The previous government was very committed to social housing projects but it now appears, given the information coming out of the other failures, that the margin on such contracts were so thin and in some cases loss making.
DB Russell Construction reportedly owes £900,000 to companies it has sub-contracted work to, £370,000 to suppliers and £620,000 to banks.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVA) Seminar announced

KSA Group are going to be holding the first of a number of CVA workshops in London on the 15th December 2010.   Are you interested in attending a 4-5 hour CVA training workshop with tests and prizes?

This will be held in the Liverpool Street area City of London on December 15th 2010.

Starting with pastries and coffees at 9.30am we will host a workshop for up to 15 people only. We will take you through a live case study from the intial enquiry, assessment of the options, why CVA and not pre-pack was used, the restructure deal, forecasting processes, the law surrounding redundancies in CVA, landlord and tenant issues, how we closed several retail stores and restructured a disfunctional board.

The day will be presented by Keith Steven, Wayne Harrison and Andrew Hunter of KSA Group. We have designed three tests for the attendees with prizes for the best scores! Lunch and refreshments are included.

Attendees will take away a CVA training manual with our compliments. The price for the day is £50 plus VAT to include all meals and refreshments and the venue cost.

If you are interested in attending then please get in touch via this email link or give our London office a call on 0207 877 0050.

If you cannot attend, please still get in touch for future seminar dates.  You can keep up to date with further announcements by joining our linkedin group for CVA's at the link below.  We will also be making announcements on our blog here and our twitter account

Look forward to seeing those who can attend.

Sheffield Wednesday given time to pay taxes. Lucky them!

Sheffield Wednesday have been given 28 days to pay their tax bill by the High Court. The Judge said that the company had been trading whilst insolvent but had allowed the stay of execution due to exceptional circumstances.  What circumstances?  Other companies, if they are trading whilst insolvent and a winding up petition is being heard, are not usually so lucky.  I suspect that the learned judge believed, as many others do, that a rich investor will step in at the last minute! However, this does not mean that other companies should rely on such unlikely outcomes.We often find that companies delay taking action because they believe that a big contract is on the way. However, even if that hope is there this should not prevent the directors taking advice.

The co-operative bank, to whom the club owes £23.5m, has been very patient throughout and is the main reason the club has survived for so long.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Christmas. Are you prepared?

Unfortunately, Christmas can be a difficult time for struggling businesses. Fixed costs are still there and wages have to be paid at the end of December. The rent, that if payable quarterly in advance, is due on Christmas Day. If you haven't negotiated with your landlord for monthly payments of rent then perhaps think about it now.

Some customers who are a bit slow at paying might think "I might wait until after Christmas to pay that invoice!" Factories are not producing for a couple of weeks so there may be cashflow pressures.

The recent poor weather has not helped businesses, especially if you have a debtor book to collect. One client we have spoken to today has had to drive around and collect cheques in person from customers, as five of his staff have been unable to get to work!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Cashbox in pre pack administration

Cashbox plc, the aim listed firm that runs ATMs, has gone into administration. In a statement the firm said, "InfoCash had reached an arrangement with the administrator, Deloitte, to purchase the assets of business." As such, the business is to carry on with all existing contracts and operations so as to safeguard the company's customers.

This process, whereby a firm goes into administration and is sold at the same time, is often called a pre pack administration. If you are considering a pre pack administration of your business please give us a call.
on 0207 877 0050

Monday, 15 November 2010

Why do CVA's get a bad press?

I recently wrote an article on articlesbase as to why CVAs often get a bad press. So for the full article please have a read by clicking on the link.

It is very simple, when a CVA succeeds very few people hear about it (it doesn't have to be publicized unlike administration or liquidation ). The company carries on trading and the debts are paid off over time. If it fails and then the company is put into administration or even liquidated then everyone is up in arms saying that CVA's dont work. This is nonsense!

They do work and will, in most cases, pay more back to the creditors than other insolvency procedures. Mind you, for a CVA to work then the business must be viable and have a future so that creditors can be paid off over time. In most cases a CVA fails for the following reasons;

  • The company has agreed to pay more to creditors than it can afford.
  • Creditors have been poorly managed by the advisors and so have not been as supportive of the process as they should. A consensus with creditors should be the aim of the turnaround or insolvency advisors.
  • The company is over optimistic on projected sales.
  • The CVA advisors and management have not gone far enough to cut costs quickly
  • The management have grown tired of being in business and so fall on their sword!
  • Their bank has not been fully involved and although they are not bound by the CVA their advice and input is essential.
  • A CVA was not the best tool for their situation. Perhaps an administration or in some cases a company liquidation would have been more appropriate.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Pontins in administration

Pontins, the budget UK holiday park operator, went into administration last night. The firm's banker, Santander, is understood to be owed £40m. So it looks as if the bank has appointed the administrators KPMG. The administrators have a helpline operating from Monday: 0844 576 8481. The camps are expected to continue to trade while a buyer is found.

If you are a supplier to the firm then please contact us on 0800 9700539 if it means that your company may encounter difficulties as a result of the surprise news on Pontins. There are solutions!

If you are an employee of the business then please take a look at our help for employee pages.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Administration for Works Media Group plc

Works Media Group plc has gone into administration following the Board's unsuccessful efforts to raise further funding for the Group. Milcoz Films Limited, as the holder of a Qualifying Floating Charge over the Group's assets has appointed administrators.

It was stressed that the subsidiaries, The Works International Limited, The Works UK Distribution Limited and the Film Consortium Limited, are not in administration and continue to trade but are in the process of "being acquired by the Company's major secured creditor."

So how does this happen? The holders of a qualifying floating charge can appoint administrators please read our page on fixed and floating charges

MPK Associates Limited Liquidation Notice - Meeting of Creditors

KSA Group Insolvency Notice

Meeting of creditors - MPK Associates Limited

Overfinch in administration

Overfinch, the Range Rover tuner and body shop, has gone into administration. In an announcement the firm blamed "significant one off non-trading costs". The firm is being marketed for sale by the administrators and expressions of interest are said to have been put forward. Overfinch was beloved by celebrities, especially footballers, who perhaps thought an iconic luxury 4x4 needed a facelift....

It is noted that a winding up petition was served against the company on the 5th November. If the directors had acted earlier then a CVA may have been possible. If the firm had some large "one-off" costs, but it was a niche operator in a growing market then provided the one off costs didn't happen again then surely it had a viable future with the debt paid off over say a 5 year period. Even if a winding up petition is served it is possible to stop it being advertised or even the hearing adjourned to give the company time to prepare a CVA.

All busineses make mistakes and a CVA can help them continue to trade, by stopping creditors legal actions, and so avoid paying the ultimate price by closing down and assets being sold at knock down prices.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Blacks Leisure praises CVA process that saved the business

The chief executive of Blacks Leisure plc, Neil Gillis, has praised the use of a company voluntary arrangement or CVA that helped the business survive last year.  The business is now trading better and has attracted interest from buyers. 

Hopefully, now business people will realise that a CVA is an excellent tool to rescue companies.  Of course it doesn't work everytime but as long as it is carefully put together and it doesn't over promise and under deliver then in our view it is the best mechanism.  For more details of the Blacks Leisure CVA then please refer to our updated page at

Small business need help to LEAD THE WAY

Good article by Lord Young in the Telegraph online today. In it he sets out his view that SME's can lead job creation and recovery. I agree BUT

I think we need to provide as many incentives to the new business as possible, indeed I blogged my business manifesto on 12th April ( ) which set out my ideas for SME's and new companies.

Interesting to see that some of these are being introduced by the new government.

Pre-election blog from April 2010:

My mini tax manifesto is not directly aimed at them but I am comfortable that it would generate increased revenues for the micro businesses out there AND increased tax take for the Exchequer. The aim would be to drive business out of the recession, get more new companies formed (and protect the recession survivors) and get as many people off benefits and into work as possible.

All newly formed companies to be exempt from corporation tax for the first 2 years after formation. For fast growing successful new starts, if the company makes £100,000 net profit in the 2 year period, then this exemption is lifted and "my" corporation tax rate below applies.

Corporation tax (CT) rates for ALL companies would be 10% for all profits up to £100,000 pa; 20% CT for all profits from £100,001 to £300,000 pa; 25% CT for all profits above £300,001 pa.

All new companies with up to 10 employees would be exempt from Employers National Insurance Surcharge on the new PAYE scheme for one year. In year two it would be 5% and in year three the normal rate (currently 12.8% Employers’ secondary Class 1 rate above secondary threshold). The aim would be to encourage new companies to take on people faster, thus reducing unemployment.

When selling shares in a newly formed company I would re-introduce the taper relief system for capital gains tax as follows: Any gain made after three years - 10% CGT on all gains above CGT allowance (currently £10,100 pa). After two years 20% CGT, after 1 year 40% CGT would apply, the aim is to attract investment into new companies and keep that locked in. If an investor sold her stake for gain in year one of that company's life she would be hit hard for CGT. Statistically 65% of all new companies fail within 3 years, the incentive above would hopefully see more new starts survive that terrible statistic.

NNDR - National Non Domestic Rates or business Rates. All new companies to be exempt from NNDR in year one. Then normal NNDR applies. This would encourage companies to take on properties that may be empty and start building their businesses. With the soft market for rents many landlords would love to see properties occupied AND this would mean the landlord does not have to pay empty property NNDR (If the property remains empty and unoccupied after the three month period then Empty Property Rates (EPR) becomes due and payable at the rate of 50 per cent of the full occupied charge. There are some exemptions to empty property rates such as properties which are classed as industrial, or those with a Rateable Value of £2,200 or less).

So my "radical" tax plans would hopefully encourage new companies (specifically not sole traders) to form, take on people, properties and build businesses. In time many would of course fail, many will go on to be larger employers paying full taxes, corporation taxes, rent and NNDR. they would create growth and wealth. They would hopefully act as a magnet for business angel investors, creative venture funders and of course banks should see the ability to lend to "protected" new companies.

Some of these proposals could apply to the surviving SME's such as CGT taper relief and the CT rates. But if they have survived they are generally stronger than new starts AND with lots of new companies forming they will have new customers to sell to as well as new competitors.

Any views on this are welcomed:

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

A CVA can give a company a fighting chance - A testimonial!

An email sent to us today.

From: *****************

Sent: 10 November 2010 12:49
To: Keith Steven
Cc: Marie Moody

Subject: ***************

Dear Keith and the Team at KSA

I would like to personally thank you all for your help in securing the CVA for us. It has been a difficult few months but with the professional service that you and your company have provided we have been able to give ****** a fighting chance in succeeding over the next few years. I would like to thank in particular Marie for the fantastic job she has done in dealing with our creditors and believe she is a great asset to your company, her professionalism was at the highest level and even though was bombarded with many problems at the same time reacted firmly and positively throughout this process.

It was a pleaure seeing yourself and Wayne at Tower 42 today and wish you a successful year end and year to come (hopefully no more business from me )

Kind Regards,

Name and address supplied

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

CVAs fall in the third quarter

Overall the number of company rescues through the company voluntary arrangement (CVA) mechanism fell during the third quarter of this year versus 2009. Indeed Q3 saw CVA’s in a massive 32% fall on Q2 of 2010. After a record high level of rescues using CVA’s in the first half of this year, the number of CVA rescues has fallen again, so what might be behind these changes?

Just as one swallow doesn’t make a summer one quarter’s insolvency statistics are not to be taken too seriously either, but the trend across all types of insolvency was a year on year AND a quarter on quarter fall in Q3. Has the worst of the recession gone? Will the number of corporate insolvencies continue to fall? Time will tell.

Back to those CVA’s numbers, which are something we study carefully at KSA. Breaking down the numbers - the manufacturing sector saw only 22 CVA’s in the period versus 32 in Q2. This is a fall of 31%, we suspect that manufacturing has bounced back in the last 9 months after manufacturers and OEMS’ began restocking and the mini boom for the automotive sector. Perhaps surprisingly even the construction sector, which has seen two high profile administrations in Connaught plc and Rok plc, saw a fall of 38% quarter on quarter.

Transport saw the only real rise in CVA use, interestingly currently KSA is working on three road haulage CVA’s. They blame the tight rates paid by retailers and lack of available finance to adequately fund their businesses.

A major impact on the use of CVA’s has been the threat of winding up petitions from HMRC. We have examined the number of winding up petitions issued in quarter 2 and 3 and did not detect much variance in these data. Our current view is that most directors will not consider the use of a rescue tool like a CVA, until the company is standing on the brink, typically a winding up threat by HMRC is the prod that is needed to make that decision.

Perhaps the number of threats to petition has fallen in prior quarter, leading to more companies relying upon deferral of tax and not the radical restructure that a CVA can lead to.

As champions of the CVA tool and the great changes that it can bring about in a failing business, we are disappointed that the use of CVAs has fallen back, but believe that a firmer approach by HMRC towards failed time to pay deals in 2011, will lead to more companies considering this option.

Without sounding like the proverbial doomsayer we at KSA think there is probably a false dawn here, very low interest rates, leniency on tax collection and support though HMRC’s time to pay scheme are not sustainable as the economy recovers. With government spending cuts and higher unemployment we would expect to see growth in the use of CVA’s and sadly liquidations in the transport, restaurants/hotels, retail and property sectors through 2011.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Rok plc in administration this morning

Rok plc has fallen into administration, the company announced this morning. This is another blow for the embattled construction sector as Rok plc follows its rival Connaught plc which collapsed in September.
Rok plc had been growing fast and had bought social housing specialist Richardson Projects, in 2008, which employed 350 people working from offices in Rochdale and Leeds. The company was originally based in the West Country but has expanded through acquisition and in its last accounts report 2009 announced £718m of revenues with profits of £22.6m. It was expected to benefit further from contracts taken over from Connaught plc so this collapse has shocked investors.

The construction sector activity is forecast to fall by 5% next year and given that it represents 10% of GDP this will have an impact on the wider economy.

If you are an employee or creditor of the company and are worried then look at our special page for employees and creditors of the company here. You will find guides for employee rights, how to make claims for redundancy and support for creditors..

If you are a supplier to the firm then please contact us on 0800 9700539 if it means that your company may encounter difficulties as a result of the shock news on ROK plc.. There are solutions!

Friday, 5 November 2010

Insolvency figures lower in Q3

The latest insolvency statistics from the government shows a fall in the number of corporate insolvencies.

Company liquidations came to 3,974, a 13.9% fall on the same time last year, and 2.2% down on Q2, Administrations came in at 633, a 35% drop on the same period in 2010.

This is encouraging news for the UK's struggling business community. However, as we reported earlier there has been a rise in the number of winding up petitions issued against companies in the last month.

The true impact of the VAT rise and the spending cuts will be felt throughout 2011, so we are not out of the woods yet. HMRC have made comments recently hinting that they will get tougher with businesses with tax arrears and banks are starting to take a hard line with companies that owe them money. Targetfollow, Leisure and Gaming plc, Maypole group plc the most recent examples.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Hotels and pubs in difficulties in Scotland

The estate agent Christie and Co have announced that they have seen a rise of 126% in the sales of hotels and pubs from distressed asset sales in Scotland. This percentage applies to the last six months to September.

The number of pubs for sale showed a 189 per cent increase in business sales during the six month period compared to the previous year, with the care sector seeing a 125 per cent rise.

All in all, it looks as if the leisure sector is suffering. This is not surprising given the high proportion of public sector workers in Scotland who may be fearful of their employment prospects.

The sale of leisure assets can be part of any strategic review undertaken by business turnaround advisors and insolvency practitioners in order to acheive a better result for creditors and allow the business to continue to survive.

Nuyuu Fitness Limited Liquidation Report Available

For the benefit all creditors of Nuyuu Fitness Limited, operators of Gyms in Livingston, East Grinstead, Stevenage, Slough and Newbury, we have uploaded the Liquidation Report.

Please click on the link

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

All KSA lines working normally

For the second time in 3 weeks we lost all telephone lines, Internet and emails for 2 hours today. BT seem to have a major problem in the north.

Should we all expect to see more such outages as demand rises fast for bandwith?

Anyway sorry for any inconvenience.

One chap called our London office and my mobile demanding to know when the BT problem would be fixed so he could vote for one of our CVA's by proxy! Thank you sir, but as I said we were in the hands of the engineers.

KSA Group and CompanyRescue contact details

Dear All,

There appears to have been a problem with BT in our area so our phone lines are down.

If you want to talk to us please call us on our mobiles

Keith Steven  07974086779
Philippa Allan 07833 240746

Sheffield Wednesday - Kevin Mundie withdraws his interest

Sheffield Wednesday have suffered a setback in their battle against a High Court winding-up petition after a consortium led by Kevin Mundie, a senior executive at Certified Oilfield Rentals withdrew his interest in buying the club.

Sheffield Wednesday are due in court on November 17 to face possible administration following a winding up petition by the HMRC for their tax debts. The club is in debt to the tune of £30m.

The Co-operative Bank had provided £800,000 to stave off a previous winding-up petition against Wednesday in September.

London tube strike again!

Is the Tube strike putting extra strain on your London business?
Want to talk to someone in London if this strike is the last straw? Then please take a look at our site for struggling London businesses. We have offices in Tower 42, Old Broad Street, London, EC2N 1HN. Why not come in and see us?

Even if your business is not struggling, but you have had enough then perhaps a members voluntary liquidation MVL is the answer. If the company has cash or properties that can be turned into cash then MVL can be used to distribute the liquid assets to shareholders or distributed "in specie" (NB subject to personal taxation depending upon an individuals circumstances). The company can then be dissolved and directors' obligations removed.

Call us now for MVL - starting at a low £3,500!! 0800 9700539

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Winding up petitions against construction companies on the decrease

The construction industry has suffered weak growth in October, adding to fears that the recent boom in construction may peter out. The construction purchasing managers index slipped from 53.8 in September to 51.6 last month. However, there has been a reduction in winding up petitions being advertised against construction companies. 72 winding up petitions were advertised in October, down from 86 in September. There is some variation in these figures month to month but overall there was an increase across all industries in the number of petitions advertised of 10.5%. It may be that a number of companies in the industry is starting to fall.
So what is a winding up petition and why is the advertisement of them important?
An application is made to the high court (PETITION) to ask the court to wind the company up on the basis that it is unable to pay its debts.

The main issue is that once a winding up petition has been advertised the business's bank account is usually frozen by the bank, whether it is in overdraft or not.

So take threats of winding up petitions very seriously! It does cost a creditor some £1800 to serve a petition (including court costs) but it can have devastating effect on the company.

If anyone has threatened a winding up petition then you must ACT. We may be able to stop the petition being advertised if one has already been issued.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Adam Consulting Limited Liquidation Notice - Meeting of creditors

KSA Group Insolvency Notices

Adam Consulting Limited - Meeting of creditors

Winding up petitions against London companies on the increase

The number of Winding up petitions issued by creditors against Central London companies in October was 109 compared with 78 in September. This represents an increase of 39%. In the rest of the country the rise has only been 10.5%

This is a sign that creditors are becoming more impatient with companies that owe them money, especially so in London. Now that the economy is improving perhaps we are now seeing the first signs of the cashflow problems that companies encounter as they start to pull out of recession. We are also seeing greater use of the winding up petition by HMRC as it loses patience with companies that have built up tax arrears.

So what is a winding up petition?

A winding up petition, once issued, is the the most powerful tool that creditors of a business can use to try and reclaim a debt.

Effectively a petition is served on the company by a solicitor and a court hearing is set. Once the court hearing is concluded and the company does not pay the debt, this will generally lead to the Official Receiver (OR) or a court appointed liquidator taking over to wind the company up. If the company has assets then an insolvency practitioner may be appointed by the court.

A winding up petition (WUP) costs say upto £800 to issue PLUS £1,190 court deposit and the filing fee. So it is a serious step to take.

What is a Petition Advertisement?

The creditor must allow 7 clear days after the serving of the petition on your registered office, before the petition can be advertised in the London or Edinburgh Gazette.

If the petition is advertised in the London Gazette all the credit agencies, receive notification of these petitions. The immediate consequence of that sounds bad but the main problem is that your Bank will be notified of the petition and they will in almost every case, freeze the company’s business bank account! How can the banks do this?

Well the technical answer is under section 127(1) of the Insolvency Act 1986, if a company is wound up, any sale of the company's property, any transfer of shares made after the commencement of the winding-up is void, unless otherwise ordered by the court.

This means that it is very difficult for a company to continue to trade after a winding up petition is advertised. So banks assume that they have to freeze the accounts to stop assets being dispositioned. It is a safe step in their eyes. This will happen even if your account is in credit

What can a business do if faced with a winding up petition.

It is possible to stop the advert if the company acts quickly. Talk to the creditor and seek an adjournment of the hearing. In many cases it is HMRC who issue winding up petitions so talk to them and say you are working on a rescue plan, Also double check all the paperwork. The petition has to be served at the registered address. Another possibility is that a WUP has been issued but doing so has been an “abuse of process “ by one creditor that could damage the interests of the other creditors. This might be where a creditor happens to be a competitor, or where the debt is in fact disputed.

Once a petition is advertised you can no longer go down the path of a creditors voluntary liquidation . It is unlikely that there would be sufficient time to propose a Company voluntary arrangement CVA. A CVA gives you the ability to stop creditor pressure and come to an agreement with your creditors to pay off what is owed over a period of 3-5 years, much like an IVA for companies both these arrangements have to be overseen by an insolvency practitioner. Avoluntary liquidation (CVL ) means you can close the company without having a court appointed Official Receiver looking into your behaviour as a director.

In almost all circumstances that we get involved with in the turnaround and insolvency world, when a creditor issues a winding up petition, it is simply the fault of the company’s directors and management – they fail to act and keep thinking that muddling on will save the day.

So if you are threatened with a winding up petition ACT. Visit our London office for a no obligation meeting.
Or visit our London based website.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Time to pay applications getting rejected by HMRC

In figures released today the HMRC are rejecting more applications for time to pay deals to defer tax, VAT and PAYE being the most common taxes that are in arrears by companies. The figures show that the percentage of applications being rejected had risen from 2.6pc in 2009 to 5.2pc this year.

If you need a time to pay deal then you need to present a strong case to the HMRC that you are a viable business. If you can't pay your tax then you may be technically insolvent and as a director then you should act reasonably.

Remember, if the company is insolvent you must act to maximise creditors interests.

If there is no reasonable prospect of the following happening:

New or additional capital or finance being introduced to the business to return the balance sheet to a solvent position or to remove the cashflow pressures.

A sale or acquisition of the company

A company voluntary arrangement CVA or administration

then the directors may be accused of wrongful trading. If you are worried about this or your accountant has said he/she is concerned then look carefully at directors disqualification.

Yavi Ltd Liquidation Notice - Meeting of Creditors

KSA Insolvency Notice

Yavi Ltd in Liquidation

Meeting of creditors notice

Boswell Solutions Liquidation Report

For creditors;

Liquidation Report for Boswell Solutions Limited

Thursday, 28 October 2010

HMRC to collect tax arrears more vigourously

In a recent article in Insolvency Today. Nick Lodge, director of debt management at HMRC has said that they are not here to support non-viable businesses, they are tax collectors! So that has cleared that up then.

Many businesses have been able to spread out their arrears of tax under the time to pay scheme. It looks as if this will not be so easy from now on.

Further details of the interview and how it is relevant to businesses can be found on our HMRC news pages.

Recruitment firms in financial difficulty

Turnover in the UK’s recruitment industry dropped by more than 12% to just under £20bn in the year to March 2010, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) annual industry report.

With hundreds of recruiters in time to pay deals with HMRC, according to Begbies Traynor's Red Flag Alert, KSA Group is seeing a marked increase in enquiries from the recruitment sector. We have successfully turned around over 20 recruitment firms including a £3.5m turnover Scottish based recruitment business.

To enable recruiters to learn quickly all about the many issues and options to restructure their business, KSA has launched a unique 96 page guide to turning around or restructuring your struggling or insolvent recruitment company.

Suits You CVA Fails and Ill informed Views on Pre-Packs and Company Voluntary Arrangements

An article in the Independent today seems to question the validity of the company voluntary arrangement (CVA) mechanism, because a well publicised retail CVA has failed.

Suits You (Speciality Retail Group Ltd) entered administration yesterday after the CVA proposed by the company in March 2010 collapsed. James Moore writing in the Independent Business section calls it "get-out-of-jail (almost) free route". His earlier comment that "the brutal truth is that this was a business that was simply not up to scratch" is much more accurate.

CVA's are not a panacea, but they're the most flexible way of keeping a business afloat, while returning dividends to creditors, maintaining employment and restructuring loss making elements of a company. But the fundamental issue that needs to be addressed by journalists is not whether CVA's. administration, (pre-pack) or liquidation are appropriate tools, these are fixed by a very complex web of legislation over decades; no, the real point is that turnaround experts and insolvency practitioners don't cause bust businesses. Management does.

In all CVA's the issues that caused the business to break down MUST be addressed. Change management or change management is our basic views. If the business is to survive the rigour of the insolvency process, management needs to be strong, determined and willing to learn from mistakes and to change. The CVA scheme itself should set out why the creditors might support the CVA restructure, what changes have been made so far and what the change plans are for the future. Why should creditors support the management team in other words.

Without being too critical of a fellow CVA expert, I personally don't think the Suits You CVA went far enough to change the business. Our research showed that something in the order of 20 factory outlets were performing well, with turnover related rents. The high street chain of c45-50 stores was burdened with high fixed rents. The CVA scheme only reduced these rents by 40% for up to 18 months, after which they could be closed. In my experience, retailers always over estimate future sales and margins. So, in my opinion, the loss making (at operating level) high street chain should have been been closed down in March 2010; the smaller leaner factory outlet business would have been left with turnover rents and flexibility. In addition the suppliers and tax creditors should have been compromised.

Simply using a CVA to hammer the landlords isn't equitable in our view. How can it be fair to penalise one class of creditor whilst allowing all other aged creditors to be paid? Having said that, the brilliance of the CVA mechanism, when understood, is that it is very flexible and the law is not minutely prescriptive on the scheme construction. Many of our clients have heard me say, "propose a deal and if the creditors approve it, you have a deal", meaning as long as 75% of the creditors support a scheme whatever it sets out, then the scheme is contractually agreed.

One swallow does not make a summer and a failed retail CVA is not a meaningful statistic; a number of retail CVA's have been very successful recently, witness Blacks Leisure plc. In that scheme the non performing stores were quickly closed and the cancer of failure treated aggressively. That company is now attracting bids. JJB Sports plc exited its 2009 CVA in early 2010.

KSA restructured a well known London design & furniture retailer earlier this year, 5 stores were closed, the warehouse operations outsourced, the MD stood down and new experienced retailers recruited to help run the company. Time will tell of course whether that CVA is successful. Perhaps people will criticise our work if that fails. Its the nature of insolvency and turnaround, some rescues work, some don't.

Finally, and almost gratuitously, the journalists lapses into lets lash out at the fat rich accountants who "stand to pocket a fortune in fees, so what do they care"? Well my normal response to this facile observation is that we didn't get the companies that we work with into trouble. Expertise, experience qualifications and strong minds are required to fix them or bury them. For that and sheer bloody hard work, we should be well paid.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Leisure and Gaming plc ( update )

I can confirm that Leisure and Gaming plc's administrators are Philip Watkins and Geoff Rowley of FRP Advisory.  The firms subsidiary Betshop Group (Europe) Ltd has been sold as a going concern to Honeymead Services for €1m safeguarding jobs for over 600 agents throughout Europe.  However, this is only a fifth of the amount agreed in principal a month ago to Pefaco.

Administration for Leisure and Gaming plc

The AIM listed company Leisure and Gaming plc will have its shares deleted with effect from the 1st November 2010 following the appointment of administrators. Shares have been suspended since May of this year to give the business time to resolve its cashflow problems. The company has been trying to sell its Betshop (Europe) Group Limited subsidiary but without success.

In a statement on the 11th of October the company said; “ Following demand for repayment by the company's bankers on 6 October 2010, the company is working to see if a solvent solution can be achieved avoiding administration,”

So again it looks like the bank has forced the issue. I do not have any more information on who the bank or the administrators are at the moment, but will let readers know as soon as I can!

Read this blog for breaking stories on businesses in administration.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

GDP figures better than expected

The GDP figures are better than expected and have surprised the markets. The pound rallied and George Osborne let out a sigh of relief!

The one thing to come out of this is the sudden activity of the construction sector in the third quarter. Perhaps they increased their productivity in order to get jobs finished or properly started before capital spending by the government was cut back. However, the government has started a national infrastructure plan so at least they recognise how important construction and maintenance is to the UK economy.

An improving construction sector is good news but it is not out of the woods yet. Businesses will need to keep a close eye on their cashflow.

If you need any advice on your construction business then please do not hesitate to give us a call. You can view on our website how we have rescued construction businesses in the past.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Administration looms for Maypole Group plc

In a Stock Exchange announcement this evening Aim listed Maypole Group Plc said that its bankers Clydesdale Bank plc had demanded repayment of all its loans to the company. Accordingly, the company is in discussions with the bank with a view to appoint administrators. In a strange statement to the exchange it appears that the rebranding exercise for the business precipitated its problems.

Maypole group were set up as an acquisition vehicle for the purchase of luxury hotels. In February 2004, the Company raised £607,798 by way of a private placing to assist with its first acquisition, which was the 32 bedroom Wroxton House Hotel in Banbury. Hotels in their ownership also include the 15 bedroomed Wayford Bridge Hotel in Norfolk

So again, it looks as if the banks are getting tougher on companies as part of trying to draw a line under the credit crunch. Take a look at our page on the banks view. If you get any of these warning signs then you need to act. The bank is a secured creditor and they can appoint administrators if they have a debenture.

Scottish insolvency figures improving

The second quarter statistics on Scottish insolvencies have been published by the Accountants in Bankruptcy (AiB). Interestingly the overall number of insolvent companies has gone down by 19%. The exception to the rule has been there has been a rise in the number of creditors voluntary liquidations of 17%

Running a business in isolated rural areas can make you more susceptible to a downturn in the economy. This could be due to a less diverse customer base, or the difficulty in retaining and recruiting staff.

CBI Conference Today

The CBI conference has started today and it is attracting much interest.  No doubt because the private sector is expected to pick up the slack left behind when the government reins in its spending.  The hope is that the conference will give an indication as to how private business is expecting to create 500,000 new jobs over the next 4 years.  Another draw is that David Cameron, this morning,  is to address the conference and outline his new vision for the UK and hope to talk about growth. 

We need some optimism here!

In order for companies to grow they must remain flexible, have a good eye on cashflow, and not be weighed down by red tape.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Portsmouth Administrator plays the liquidator card

Administrator, Andrew Androniku theatens to place Portsmouth into LIQUIDATION imminnently.

The spending cuts.

I haven't blogged on this subject until now as so much is being said, but for what it is worth here we go.

The deficit has to be dealt with and a strong message needs to be sent out to the markets that we can manage our money better than our competitors.

Having said that, constant talk of huge job cuts in the public sector does not help matters. 500,000 jobs lost/cut does not mean the same as 500,000 people being made redundant. No wonder high street sales saw such a big fall in spending in September! Many jobs will be "lost" or "cut" in that the Government will not re-hire for roles after someone has left and vacancies will be scaled back.

Consumer sentiment is vital for our growth and the government must be careful with its rhetoric otherwise growth will be curtailed. Cutting is the easy part, growing the economy to create new jobs is the hard bit!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Shieldtech appoints administrators

Body armour specialists, Shieldtech, has appointed administrators two days after its shares on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) were suspended.

The long stock market statement, started with: "As a result of the sustained fall in demand in the UK police market and the adverse impact on working capital, the board has recently explored several options to improve the financial position of the company and to realise value for the benefit of the group’s stakeholders."

The statement went on to say;
"These plans were frustrated, however, when the group’s bank informed the directors that it intended to place in escrow the proceeds from the recently announced Turkish order as additional security for its term loan and overdraft."

So looks like the bank put them in an impossible situation. They were protecting their interests. Take a look at our page on the banks view. If you get any of these warning signs then you need to act. The bank is a secured creditor and they can appoint administrators if they have a debenture.

A CVA can help the company avoid administration in that it can write off some of the unsecured debt and allow the bank's debt to be serviced. Getting the bank onside is crucial when negotiating a CVA and we are experts in talking to them, having done 400 CVAs with the bank's cooperation.

Stokes plc in administration

Stokes plc, which is the largest independent greengrocer in the UK, has gone into administration. The company employs 277 people across the UK. KPMG have made 65 people redundant across 10 stores. Richard Hill, partner at administrators KPMG, said: "Unfortunately, declining sales in some stores have resulted in losses being incurred." The affected stores include Bath, Exeter, Abergavenny, Falmouth and Sherborne. The administrators are looking for a buyer for the business, as a going concern, and they said they have already received expressions of interest.

Competition from the big stores has always been a problem for smaller independent grocers. In order to survive they need to offer something different. No doubt with people worrying about their jobs, especially in the public sector, there will be further pressure on retailers.

We have rescued retailers before. Please see our case study on the a Hampshire retailer

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Administration For Beetham London Tower

The Royal Bank of Scotland has put the Beetham London Tower development scheme into administration after talks broke down between the bank and the Russian owners. The 52 storey South Bank tower will feature 64 luxury apartments and a 261-bedroom Jumeirah hotel.

The scheme has an £80m loan secured against it. In a statement Beetham said; “Beetham anticipate taking the project out of administration very shortly in association with new investors. If the opportunity comes to the market, it will be marketed internationally at the beginning of 2011, with Knight Frank on behalf of Beetham/Mirax and CBRE acting for RBS. Bids in excess of £150m are expected.”

One the same day as the announcement of the administration building has started on the "walkie talkie" development at Fenchurch Street. This is expected to cost some £500m to build!

CVAs for Blacks Leisure and JJB Sports

Company voluntary arrangements are only for small struggling companies?

We hear this criticism endlessly, CVA's are only appropriate for small companies, large companies cannot use them and they are rarely successful. Nonsense! Just look at JJB Sports plc - it successfully exited the CVA in 2010. Also take the case of Blacks Leisure plc. The CVA it proposed closed 100 poorly performing stores. The rest of the business is trading so well it has had to appoint advisors to handle the growing number of approaches it is receiving. The business is now profitable and growing – who says CVA's are for small companies?

To learn how KSA successfully use CVA's to close unwanted stores or poorly performing divisions get our free 82 page CVA guide

Monday, 18 October 2010

Cashflow problems solved by getting paid!

If a customer owes you money then all you need to do is ask for it. If only it was that simple!

In difficult economic times many businesses are finding it difficult to collect money owed to them. Maybe it is something to do with the British? We don't like confrontation and we find it hard to ask for what we want/need. Some customers have always been late payers in good times and bad so even now managers are saying to themselves or their credit controller; "Don't worry they always pay in the end." Alarm bells only start to ring when a usually good payer starts to get a bit late.

How can we avoid confrontation turning ugly with a longterm customer? A positive confrontation is one that is intentionally created by you to get you the result you want within controlled limits without harming yourself or your customer. Personal dignity is a persons most cherished possession - so, if you want cooperation, don't attack a person's dignity.

When asking for money make sure you know exactly how much is owed. Again, sounds simple but if there is any confusion/debate at this stage it can hold things up. People often don't pay because they simply think "I never ordered these so I won't pay, if they chase me then I will bring it up then." So keep good records and review them as part of your preparation for any discussion over accounts owing.

Communication is vital in business to achieve results but even more so when collecting debts.

Are there any ways to remove the stress of the whole business. Options open to businesses are the following;

Factoring or invoice discounting
Employing an outside debt collecting agency

Factoring suits some businesses such as printers and recruitment companies but you will have to pay a proportion of the amount owed to the factoring company.
A debt management company can help but they must be chasing an unarguable debt for them to be effective and again they will take a commission.

If you are having any cashflow difficulties then give us a call. You might want to take a look at our page on managing cashflow.

Boswell Solutions Limited - Meeting Of Creditors

KSA Group Insolvency Notice

Boswell Solutions Limited - Meeting of Creditors

Directors Warned Over Their Duties by Higgs and Sons

Our friends Higgs & Sons from Birmingham warn directors over their duties: Higgs and Sons are a progressive law firm with an insolvency law group.

Here is an extract from today's Business Desk Midlands:

"David Ellis, a partner at Higgs and Sons, said his firm was increasingly meeting directors of insolvent companies who were surprised to find themselves made personally liable for their company’s debts when the firm failed.

“Many entirely honest directors whose companies have failed through no fault of their own are finding themselves facing personal liability on two counts,” explains Mr Ellis".

“First, liquidators are challenging directors who have taken their remuneration through dividends rather than as salary. This is often recommended by their accountants to save tax however if the company is failing and there are insufficient profits to justify such dividends then these can be clawed back by the liquidator as illegal payments.

"Secondly, if it is found that a director has permitted the company to trade on longer than a "reasonable" director would have done, the liquidator can ask him or her to personally make good any losses incurred by the creditors in that period.”

Here, here we say! Unfortunately in my experience, many directors listen to the person we call the "man in the pub", or people who have a modicum of knowledge and are dangerous advisors.

Common mistakes that distressed company directors make are; trading whilst insolvent, creating preferences, transactions at an undervalue, wrongful trading, failing to submit tax returns and tax payments. The obvious answer is to TAKE ADVICE early and don't listen to the man in the pub, (click the blue links for further easy to follow guidance).

Did you know that if your company is insolvent, that this means the directors have a legal duty to maximise CREDITORS' interests? Check if your company is insolvent here.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Nuyuu Fitness Limited - Meeting of Creditors

KSA Group Creditors Voluntary Liquidation Notice

Nuyuu Fitness Limited - Meeting of creditors

For further infomation on Nuyuu please call our Gateshead office on 0191 482 3343

London companies need help

4200 companies in the City are struggling according to the Begbies Traynor Red Flag Alert. While it appears that large financial institutions are in better health, it is the smaller businesses that are feeling the pressure. The research has shown that cleaners and office equipment suppliers are amongst those in difficulty.

It doesn't matter if you are a big or small company there are options available that can help you. The most important thing is doing nothing or denying there is a problem is not going to help. If your business stopped trading tomorrow and was not able to pay off all its debts that are currently due then it is technically insolvent.

If legal action such as a winding up petition is threatened then you must act. Please take a look at a case study on how we saved a London business.

The City is an essential driver of growth and much needed tax revenues so the government must support it.

Britains has no manufacturing sector left....

This is a common statement made by the man in the pub, the uneducated journalist and many politicians. Did you know that UK manufacturing sector is still the 6th largest in the world?

Yes, obviously financial services and the services sector in general has grown hugely over the last 30 years, whilst manufacturing has not grown by much since 1980.

News today that Jaguar land Rover is NOT closing one of its plants and is hiring 2,000 people, shows what can be done when companies produce products that people WANT to buy.

In the three months to June 30 this year, sales of Jaguar and Land Rovers were up 60pc, with Chinese sales gaining 104pc, and that the company made a pre-tax profit of £233.8m.

This followed March 2010 being the best month for UK sales in the 62-year history of Land Rover.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Endless Plans New Fund; Plenty of targets Out There?

Yorkshire based Endless Group announced that it will shortly be raising a new buyout / turnaround fund of £300m.

Interesting to note that Endless is receiving around "500 approaches a year from organisations looking for investment, from which it might make six or seven decisions on funding".

We forecast that the number of companies looking for new funding will rise sharply in the next 12 months, many bank and private equity backed firms are "zombies" or living dead. Many have broken bank covenants, cannot refinance or even service their debts, but the banks are continuing to avoid the haircut that is patently needed.

KSA has looked at several such companies this year. The most interesting example was a professional services firm with £60m sales, probable enterprise value of £10-12m and bank debt of £66m. This included a unsecured £28m PIK note. Does the bank seriously believe that the PIK (payment in kind) note will be repaid in the event of a sale?

We suggested a debt restructure and sale of the company, but the bank (LTSB) was having nothing to do with it.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Ultimate Finance buys Ashley Commercial for £4.75m

Factoring and invoice discounting group, Ultimate Finance, has agreed to buy Ashley Commercial Finance for an initial £4.75m in cash and shares with a bonus payment of up to £2.7m if the business meets certain targets.

Ashley Commercial Finance imposed a policy of capping the amount it would lend to individual clients at £50,000 in June last year. This prompted rumours about its financial position.

Ashley Commercial Finance, based near Manchester, provided invoice finance to small and medium-sized businesses. At March 31, it had a loan book of just over £4.4m and net assets of £0.94m, and generated an operating profit in the year of £0.69m. However its net asset position had deteriorated from the position as at March 31 2009 when it had net assets of £1.6m.

This recent acquisition is further evidence of consolidation in the business services sector.

What is invoice factoring or discounting?

You sell the debtor book to a factoring company who then provide the company with working capital advances against that asset. They will provide from 50-95% advance against the debtor book and charge around 0.5% to 3% depending on the number of invoices, the quality of the book and how much work is required. All your future invoices pass through the system and this sharply improves cashflow. Not any more seen as "lending of last resort".


If you debtor control is poor this can help. It is extremely flexible form of finance - the facility can rise and fall as your needs dictate. If the company is under pressure and your sales are growing it is a vital tool. Finding the right factor can lead to much more efficient use of your assets and the ability to plan production or activity - thereby creating improved efficiency.


Concentration in one or two customers can cause difficulties. It is perceived as expensive - but it is providing the commodity you need - money. Most banks have a factoring division - they may not be suitable for your business - shop around. Any bank overdraft is normally repaid from the advance from the factor (the bank’s main security is sold to the factor). If you have very low margins or your debtors pay very slowly (more than 80 days) it is not suitable.
For more information on refinancing options please refer to our website.

Monday, 11 October 2010

JV & B Limited Insolvency Notice

KSA Group Insolvency Notices

Creditors Voluntary Liquidation Notice - JV & B Limited

Fewer retailers in administration

Another crop of statistics that show two different stories.

PWC, in their survey of the retail sector, found that just 360 firms failed in the third quarter, a drop of 11 per cent from the second quarter and a 26 per cent reduction on the same quarter last year. PWC mused that this was because most of the weak retailers have already become insolvent. It remains to be seen if these will be the case when public sector cuts come into force.

However, this recession has been different and firms are more flexible than before. This hasn't stopped them from being gloomy though! Deloitte's survey of chief financial officers has more than a third expecting a double dip recession as confidence crashes to its lowest level in 18 months.

Forget all the polls and surveys and concentrate on ensuring your business is CASH positive. Thousands of businesses are making losses it seems for years but if you run out of cash then that is it!

KSA Group can advise on how to stay cash positive and ensure that your business survives the recession. Please see our guide to cost cutting

Friday, 8 October 2010

Administration for Woolston Warehouse Developers

North Park (Bradford) Limited was set up as a consortium to carry out the first phase of the Woolston Warehouse project in Bradford. This saw the creation of 106 apartments in the Goitside area of the city centre. The second phase is to build a business hotel. However, the developer is now in the hands of the administrators Deloitte after it emerged that the North Park (Bradford) Limited owed the Yorkshire Bank some £8m.

The administrators are proceeding with the sale and rent of the apartments in order to try and recover monies for the creditors. Deloitte said that the business had suffered from the downturn in the property market. Simon Mantle, case manager for Deloitte, when referring to the bank's position, said; "It just got to a point where it wasn’t really going anywhere and the bank wanted to take control, but that was done via a director’s appointment."

So what does that actually mean? Who can appoint an administrator?

Companies and Directors can appoint an administrator quickly with the insolvency practitioners (IP) guidance. This does not require a Court Order it requires a fax to be sent to the court with the appropriate forms. Clearly the IP must have done some work to establish if the company is insolvent, should it go into administration, what the process will involve and the planned outcome.
Where a company is in liquidation or in a CVA then the proposed administrator must obtain a Court Order.

No administration order will be granted unless the holders of all qualifying floating charges have been given 5 days clear notice of the company’s or directors’ intention to appoint an administrator.

The floating charge holder (usually a bank) will still retain the ability to step in and appoint their own choice of administrator should they so wish.
So it’s possible that board decides to appoint an Administrator and the bank refuses and appoints its own. Quality IP’s will not experience much difficulty if they are recognised by the bank and there is a quality plan to protect the business.
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