Please visit http://www.companyrescue.co.uk/ for confidential help and insolvency advice or email keiths@ksagroup.co.uk

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

http://www.companyrescue.co.uk/insolvency-notices/yavi-limited-liquidation-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

http://www.companyrescue.co.uk/insolvency-notices/boswell-solutions-limited-liquidation-notice

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

http://www.companyrescue.co.uk/insolvency-notices/nuyuu-fitness-limited-liquidation-notice

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".

Advantages

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.

Disadvantages

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.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

House prices fall. So what does it mean for businesses?

Halifax have announced a sharp fall in house prices in September, down 3.6% for the month of September. So what does this mean for business?

House prices have been an important psychological factor on consumer behaviour. However, since the crunch I think there has been a disconnect between the value of people's homes and spending. Householders for some time have stopped remortaging and spending in the belief that prices will continue to rise so this fall is not too significant.

What needs to happen is that housing activity picks up; moving, building, extending. The lack of activity is the biggest threat to the economy. Many traders, removal companies and even large building companies are struggling in this market freeze. Many have contacted KSA Group for help.

In keeping with confusing statistics (see my earlier blog post) it has just been announced today that manufacturing output rose for a sixth consecutive month in August, growing faster than expected to lift the annual rate to its highest in over 15 years!

Funnily enough all the economists are saying they are cautious on the outlook..

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Where is the economy heading?

There appear to be so many conflicting statistics, surveys, press releases, not to mention the pronouncements of the coalition, one could be forgiven for finding it hard to predict where the economy will be in 2011.

Here are some examples of good news;

Bonuses in the City better than expected ( a few find this very good news, others not at all )
Tesco profits up. This even surprised the Chief Executive himself!
Activity in the construction sector is up slightly.
Confidence on the high street is still bouyant.

Interest rates likely to stay low for some time.
Air travel and global trade increasing slowly.
Services sector in surprise expansion


Here are some examples of bad news;

House prices continue to fall.
Money supply is down.
Lending to small business is still very low.
Confidence in the construction sector down ( see above good news)
Jobs market growth 'slows again' according to survey of recruitment firms.
Government to start spending cuts ( already having an impact )
Inflation stubbonly high


So are we heading for a double dip? The expression "double dippers" has come about for the pessimists and the rest are undecided, or would rather not say!

In our view the most important thing that is keeping the UK relatively stable are low interest rates, flexible working, and the support of HMRC for businesses that cannot pay their tax on the TTP programme. The world economy is a competitive place and if we are leaner and fitter than our competitors then we will benefit. As such, in the long term, companies will have to face up to the fact that they are not lean and fit if they cannot pay tax owed. The government is aware that the budget deficit is also not conducive to a lean and fit country.

In the end it will be a combination of external factors ( US economy, commodities prices, Eurozone health) and good UK government that will be the deciding factor.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Wayne Harrison and Andrew Hunter promoted

We are delighted to report that Wayne Harrison and Andrew Hunter were appointed as directors of KSA Group Ltd, following the most recent Board meeting on Friday (1st October 2010

Wayne Harrison is a licensed insolvency practitioner. He has over 15 year’s insolvency experience including a period when he was appointed by the IPA to oversee the regulation of insolvency practitioners. Wayne leads our London office and is now currently "relaxing" after completing a trading administration!

Andrew Hunter has been appointed as Finance Director of the KSA Group ltd. Andrew Hunter is an expert at financial forecasts having worked for major financial institutions. He has used his forecasting skills to help KSA Group turn companies around. We look forward to having him apply his vast knowledge and experience to our company in order to manage our continued growth.

Construction Confidence Hits 18 Month Low

Confidence in the construction industry has hit an 18 month low as the sector mulls the forthcoming spending cuts, according to the Markit/CIPS Construction Purchasing Managers Index.

The current weakness in the housing market also weighs on sentiment in the sector.

So what can be done for struggling building companies?

In these difficult conditions even the smallest mistake culminating in a cost overrun could be critical. A business may no longer be viable going forward so the only option might be liquidation.

If a business is fundamentally sound then a company voluntary arrangement could be the answer.

One particular building company we saved had an overdraft facility of £150k with RBS. This bank is well known for blocking pre-pack administrations where the business is sold to the same directors.

So after a meeting with KSA Group a rescue plan was put together.

For details of how this building company was rescued please read our case study; CVA Rescues Building Company in the North East

Monday, 4 October 2010

Crown Currency Exchange in administration

Crown Currency Exchange, one of the largest foreign exchange websites, has gone into administration blaming the recession in the travel market.

Administrators MCR said that an estimated 13,000 consumers would be affected.

The business, based in Hayle in Cornwall, was established by a husband and wife team 5 years ago. Crown Currency Exchange allowed individuals and business customers to pre-order foreign exchange at a set price up to a year in advance, with amounts of between £300and £10,000 available.

The firms bank accounts were frozen by Barclays at the weekend, barring it from withdrawing or transmitting any money to customers. So why was the bank account frozen? A bank can of course freeze the account of any of its customers if it feels that it is unlikely to get any money owed back. It should be remembered that a bank will almost certainly freeze a business account if a winding up petition has been served on the company. It is not clear whether this was what precipitated the move but, no doubt, we will find out soon!

If you go to the company's website there is one page informing anyone to contact the administrators. Why
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