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Friday, 29 April 2011

Aqua Harvest Limited Liquidation Notice

KSA Group Insolvency Notice

Aqua Harvest Limited - Meeting of creditors - The Bristol Golf Club, St. Swithins Park, Blackhorse Hill, Almondsbury, Bristol, BS10 7TP on 6 May 2011 at 12.15 pm

See full notice below

Acorn Pets in Administration

Acorn Pets, the pet supply chain based in Fife, has gone into administration for the second time in two years.  The firm will keep its shops in Dunfermline  and Cowdenbeath, but all the other 22 will close.  About 122 jobs are expected to be lost.

It is the second time in two years that the firm has gone into administration, with the family-run firm in the hands of administrators at Begbies Traynor, following a sustained period of "poor trading."

Speciality shops are finding trading difficult with tough competition from supermarkets.

Could the business have been saved with a CVA?  It depends on whether the business was viable going forward.  This may have not been the case if it had a sustained period of poor trading...  BUT a CVA, if done early enough, may have been able to close the underperforming stores before they dragged the whole business down.

All Saints Close to Sale

According to reports, The private equity group, Lion Capital, which owns La Senza, the high street lingerie brand, Weetabix, and American Apparel is close to acquiring a controlling stake in All Saints, the troubled ladies fashion chain.   All Saints employs 2,000 UK staff, and trades from over 100 locations worldwide and was close to going into administration if it could not secure £65m worth of funding to continue.
It is understood that once the deal is completed Lion will own around 75pc of All Saints, while Goode Partners, the US private equity firm will own 15pc and Kevin Stanford, the chain's chairman, will hold 10pc. The deal is believed to value All Saints at £105m.  The capital injection will secure the future of the chain and in the deal Lloyds Banking Group has agreed to extend its facility of £30m to the company.

The deal is likely to be completed until after the bank holiday.

Blogged by Robert Moore

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Amdega in administration

Amdega the conservatory manufacturer and supplier based in Darlington has gone into administration with the loss of 197 jobs. The business is almost 150 years old.  Customers will be effected as the business had 300 outstanding orders.

Administrators at KPMG said Amdega was "a victim of the severe downturn in the big-ticket and home-related parts" of retail. 

Further evidence of the downturn in consumer confidence has been revealed in the GfK NOP consumer confidence index that showed a fall to "-31"  a figure which has only been seen before in the height of the financial crisis in 2008 and in early 1990.

If you are an employee of the business then you can visit our help for employees pages on our website.

If you are a supplier to the business and you think that the collapse of Amdega will affect you then please get in touch and we can talk to you about your options.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

GDP Figures Show 0.5% Growth

The latest GDP figures for the 1st Quarter of 2011 for the UK confirm the belief that our economy is beginning to grow again with these latest figures showing 0.5% growth. This is despite the impact of tax rises on pay packets not being felt. This growth is lower than other industrialised economies and so interest rates are likely to remain low for some time. The retail/leisure sector is struggling the most at the moment with a number of high profile collapses.

It is often in periods of growth following a recession that businesses find themselves in difficulty as they start to spend to try and gain some market share and win work despite having low cash reserves.  Also creditors become less forgiving as the economy improves.

We shall have to see what happens. Unfortunately for companies just "seeing what happens " is not really an option. It is important to have a plan, incase you find yourself in difficulty, and so know your options.

The longer you leave it the less options you have, especially if the bank or creditors start legal actions such as winding up petitions.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Liquidation Reports Online

Creditors Voluntary Liquidation Reports now available for the following companies;

Dedicated Pressure Systems Limited
Panther Telemarketing Limited
RXperience Limited
Clairoy Maintenance Chemicals Limited
Arrow Fracht Dienstleistung Ltd
Hitlines UK Limited
ACJ Landscapes Limited
Complete Design Contracts Limited
Spedycja EWA Ltd
Arrowlink Express Limited
Sammond Projects Limited

As part of the Insolvency Act 1986 a report by the insolvency practitioner needs to be sent to all creditors of the company. These outline why the business failed, what the deficiency on the account was, as well as including all the requisite notices. This report is also sent to the registrar at Companies House.

The above companies have all entered into a creditors voluntary liquidation process. For more information please refer to our webpages at

HMV considering a CVA

Reports over the weekend have indicated that HMV is looking at the possibility of a company voluntary arrangement or CVA to save the business.  Last month Simon Fox, HMV's chief executive, said at a retail industry conference that a CVA was "not an option".

In a statement HMV said: "As is entirely usual and appropriate in current circumstances, the group continues to keep itself fully informed on all of its available options and keeps its contingency plans up to date, among which a CVA may or may not be considered."  KPMG are advising the firm having pushed through the JJB Sports CVA.

It is understood that Alexander Mamut, a Russian oligarch, is reportedly close to buying the Waterstone's book chain in a £35m deal.

We keep reading statements in the press about the process being "controversial" and it allows companies to "stop paying rent on their shops"

These are, of course, generalizations.  In a CVA the landlords will still receive a dividend on the amount they are owed and if the business continues to trade they may have to agree to a reduced rent.  It all depends on how the CVA is constructed.  Landlord's support is usually crucial to any CVA being approved for a retailer but failure to support one will often result in the business going into administration if their financial situation deteriorates.  Administration is likely to have the same result in that shops are likely to be closed, especially if no buyer for the business can be found.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Keith Steven talks to Accountancy Age about CVAs

Keith Steven of KSA was interviewed by Accountancy Age, see here for the article from Accountancy Age which looks at the CVA mechanism.  The CVA mechanism is increasingly being seen as a better alternative to administration to rescue viable businesses.  What is more they can be flexible and fluid to appease the demands of creditors.

Also criticism that CVA's don't work is unfair.  65% of all businesses fail in the first 3 years of trading so it is inevitable that CVA's are not going to have a 100% success rate given that it is a solution applied to business in very serious financial difficulty in the first place.

With the possible demise of pre-packs in future, the CVA should be considered in every case.

Von Essen Hotels Administration

Von Essen Hotels which runs 28 luxury hotels has gone into administration. Administrators at Ernst & Young are trying to find buyers.  The business reportedly had debts of £250m.  Barclays and Lloyds Banking Group reportedly appointed administrators after the five-star hotel group breached a covenant regarding minimum payments of interest.  Banks can appoint an administrator if they hold a qualifying floating charge under new debentures granted after 15th September 2003. If the bank holds an older debenture it can appoint an Administrative Receiver. But it should be pointed out that the administrator has a duty to act in the interests of all creditors not just on behalf of the bank/floating charge holders.

Angela Swarbrick, joint administrator at Ernst & Young, said: "It is business as normal for the hotels and customers of von Essen Hotels can continue to enjoy their stay."  The hotels themselves have not gone into administration. 

Von Essen Hotels employs 40 people and another 1,000 work at the 28 hotels.

Silentnight proposes a CVA

Silentnight, the Lancashire bed manufacturer with 1,250 staff has proposed a Company Voluntary Arrangement after its bank withdrew funding facilities and the pension regulator turned down help, given its pension deficit.

The company has its headquarters in Barnoldswick and owns the well known bed brand Sealy.
To January 2010 the company had a turnover of £107m and profit of £243,000.
Neal Mernock, the chief executive, said; "In the absence of a willing commercial banking partner, and after a formal proposal to the Pension Regulator offering an equity stake in the group was declined, a CVA has been deemed the only viable route forward at this time.

The CVA document has been filed by KPMG with the High Court in Manchester. A creditors' meeting has been called for 6 May 2011, where 75% (by value) of the creditors will be required to back the CVA.

Scottish Insolvency Statistics Q4

The number of Scottish companies entering into formal insolvency has increased in the last quarter. 

The Accountant in Bankruptcy received 294 notices of Scottish registered companies becoming insolvent or entering receivership in the fourth quarter of 2010/11. This figure includes 13 receiverships, 199 compulsory liquidations, 82 creditors voluntary liquidations and 56 members voluntary liquidations.  The number of companies becoming insolvent or entering receivership during this period was up by 11 per cent over the previous quarter. This marks a four per cent increase on company insolvencies for the same period of last year.  By contrast in England the insolvency figures are showing a decrease.

Again, this may be due to the fact that there really is no rescue culture in Scotland. CVA's are not usually considered as there is a presumption against allowing the debtor a second chance and there is a mistaken belief that HMRC in Scotland will not support a CVA.  What is more once a winding up petition has been served on a company it is advertised immediately meaning that liquidation is the most likely income.
For more statistics and details insolvency in Scotland and help for Scottish based businesses then please refer to our Scottish rescue page

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Business recovery advice

Business recovery is a service that few entrepreneurs are keen on using for their business but it is important to remember that if your company is struggling you need to take early action.

Find out what business recovery advice we can give.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Winding Up Petitions in Scotland

A winding up petition issued by a creditor against a Scottish company is an even more dangerous step as there is no grace period after the petition and before the advertisement.  In effect the moment a petition is served it is advertised on the wall of the Court.  This may lead to the bank accounts being frozen.  This particular quirk of the Scottish system is one reason why there are fewer corporate rescues in Scotland than in England.  However, KSA group are keen to change this!

Please read our new pages on winding up petitions in Scotland to see what can be done.

HMRC will support a CVA

Just because HMRC rejected the CVA proposed by Oddbins they have not had any change of policy. In fact the Voluntary Arrangement Service (VAS) have just recently published their policy on CVAs

This can be found at

Their opening statements below;
Conditions for supporting a CVA proposal

We consider voluntary arrangements on an individual basis, and will vote to support proposals where:

• debtors are honest in their financial disclosure
• an optimised and achievable offer is made to creditors
• provision is made for payment of all future debts on time
• they treat all creditors within the same class equally
• there are no exceptional reasons for rejection.

However, we will not support debtors (individual or corporate) who do not allay our
concerns about their proposals.

We aim to respond to all voluntary arrangement proposals within seven days of receipt.

So there you go! However just phoning them up asking for a CVA is not an option. They need to see concrete proposals or a good working draft.

Getting a professional to do this gives you the best chance of success.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Ideal Shopfitters in Administration

Ideal Shopfitters, a shop fitting firm in Rutland, has gone into administration with the loss of 70 jobs.
Commenting on the administration, Nathan Jones the administrator said: “The retail sector has been hit by a drop in trade following the recession, along with a poor performance during Christmas and the subsequent increase in VAT.  He went on to say that they were focused on selling the company's goodwill and assets.

It does seem that retailers are going through a very tough time at the moment whilst other businesses are holding up quite well.  There may yet be more bigger retailers to fall if consumer spending continues to be reined in.

Note to commentators.  Please do not submit personal attacks on the directors of the company as they are not in a position to defend themselves on this blog.  Besides any such comments will not be published.

Director Disqualified for 13 years

Mark Gaffney, the managing director of three liquidated household maintenance companies, has been disqualified from holding a directorship or controlling a company for 13 years.  This follows an investigation by the Insolvency Service.  The main complaint was that he had failed to keep adequate financial records and could not explain where £1.4m had gone between 2004 and 2008.   In addition he had racked up a debt to HMRC of some £1m

Commenting on the case, Malcolm Dunn, Official Receiver for Northampton said:

“The length of Mr Gaffney’s disqualification sends a clear message to other company directors who fail to perform their statutory duties, which include the keeping of proper financial records. The Insolvency Service can and will investigate company directors activities, and where appropriate take action to remove them from the business environment when we find evidence of trading to the determent of their customers”.

So the Official receiver will look into your company's affairs if you are compulsorily wound up by the court and you may face disqualification if you have not acted within the law. 

If you are in a financial hole, then stop digging.  Seek advice and if the business is not viable then you can talk to our Licensed Insolvency Practitioners.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Hi Ho Silver Jewellery closes down

The South West based Hi Ho Silver Jewellery closes down all its 16 shops today following its administration.  However, the brand continues to trade online. 

In fact, according to research by Boston Consulting Group, the UK consumer shops more online than any other country.  Therefore retailers ignore the internet at their peril.  It will not hurt overall sales as consumers want the overall experience with the retailer to be online and offline. 

ASOS has seen a 24% rise in its sales online in the three months to 31st March in the UK and a whopping 161% in overseas markets.  Granted overseas sales have risen mainly because of launching new websites but it indicates where the growth is.

If you are a struggling retailer think about your online presence as a priority!  If you havent got a website get one NOW.  Google are offering free websites to companies at

If your business has serious problems then take a look at our retailer rescue page

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Unemployment rate shows improvement

The number of unemployed stands at 7.8%. Although the figures are not as bad as many predicted at the height of the credit crunch in 2008 we are still not out of the woods. The rate shows a 0.1% improvement on the 3 month period June to September.

Unfortunately, there is no doubt that there have been some public sector jobs lost although most of these have been voluntary redundancies.  When compulsory redundancies start we may see unemployment rise. Wage growth has also slowed to 2.0% and with inflation still high this may result in a drag on the economy

Monday, 11 April 2011

Cashflow Problems for April

This month and next are going to be a quiet one for many businesses which may be a welcome relief for some workers.  However, for directors trying to bring in payments or finish jobs the extended holiday is going to be a difficult time. 

Easter is falling in late April, the following week there is the Royal Wedding, and the week after that we have the first May Bank Holiday.  In effect, businesses are losing 4 working days in the two weeks either side of 1st May

So advice for businesses is don't leave it too late to try and finish jobs and collect payments. Set targets for completion and invoice chasing and don't commit to any spending unnecessarily until after the holiday period.

If you do think you might have issues with cashflow then don't think that it is just going to resolve itself.  Businesses may have other threats like losing a customer or a key member of staff going sick at any time.  If these cannot be weathered then the business may need to seek advice.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Close my company - How Do I Do that?

Well, there are 2 main ways you can close your company.  Dissolution or Creditors Voluntary Liquidation.  For a basic break down visit our new page on how to close a limited company

Bold EXP1 Liquidation Notice

KSA Group Insolvency Notice

Bold EXP1 in Liquidation - Meeting of creditors will be held at The Great Western Hotel, St David’s House, St David's Hill, Exeter, Devon EX4 4NU on 20 April 2011 at 12.30 pm

Full notice below

Insolvency Statistics Show Improving Picture

The number of UK companies going into a formal insolvency process - administration, voluntary liquidation, CVA or were wound up by the Court fell by 12% in February 2011 compared to 2010, according to data from information services firm Experian.

The total number of insolvencies fell from 0.10% to 0.08% of businesses.

This is welcome news for the business community but the research did show that medium sized businesses were still becoming insolvent at the same rate month on month.

I don't wish to keep going on about how we will have more troubled times ahead but would like to congratulate small business owners for keeping costs under control and being flexible. HMRC and the banks have been more supportive than was the case in the early nineties. Banks have not lent out money that has led to businesses being starved of cash to grow, BUT some banks have not been calling the loans in and putting companies into administration with quite the same vigour as in the past. RBS for instance although the  biggest bank (by debt volume) is responsible for the fewest administration appointments - 10% at last count by insolvency today magazine. Could it be something to do with it being mostly owned by the taxpayer...?

Thursday, 7 April 2011

R&D Construction in Administration

R&D Construction, based in Dumfries, has gone into administration after it failed to reach agreement with its bankers.  The firm is the main contractor in the housing renewal programme in Dumfries and Stranraer. Problems were first reported when the company was unable to pay all its staff last week. Ernst & Young have been called in as administrators.

R&D Construction is the building subsidiary of the R&D Construction Group and had a turnover of £7.19m as reported in the accounts up until 30th March 2010.

If you are affected by the administration of the R&D then please do get in touch.  We have helped building companies in the past.  Recent examples and we have helped companies in Scotland.  Have a look at our Scottish Business Rescue Page

If you are an employee then you can look at our pages on the implications of administration for employee pages

What next for pre packs

Following the consultation on from Ed Davey MP's announcement that he is looking into ways of improving the prepack administration process there has been much comment. The principal complaint, as most people know, is that the process is seen as opaque and unsecured creditors get no chance to scrutinize the deal to sell the business. This is particularly an issue where the company is sold to the previous management very quickly.

On the one hand, the prepack is seen by turnaround practitioners as a useful tool to save a business. The principle purpose of administration is after all rescue first, then the best return achievable for creditors. Of course one tends to go with the other. If a business is in dire financial trouble but there is a possibility that the business could be sold, jobs saved and a new management team in place, even with some previous directors on board, is this not a good thing?

On the other hand, the problem is that there is often not a chance for a competitive bidding situation to emerge as time is critical to stop immediate creditor legal actions such as a winding up petition. The government is proposing a time period of three days in which creditors can challenge the deal. SIP 16 is in our view a sensible check and balance that ensures that other options have been evaluated. In the absence of buyers, and tight finance, there are unlikely to be many buyers in the market so as long as the management can buy the business and assets at a fair price then it is often the only option. It should be remembered that if a business is put into administration for a period then the return to creditors is likely to be poor especially if employees walk and much of the goodwill of the business is lost.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Principle Leisure Group Administration

Principle Leisure Group, the North East bar operator of the Popolos outlets amongst others, has gone into administration and a buyer is being sought by the administrators Andrew Haslam and Gerald Krasner of Begbies Traynor.

The company had a substantial debt to HMRC and it transpired that the company was unable to come to a negotiated timetable to pay the arrears. The administrator said “The outlets are now being operated under licence whilst a purchaser is sought. The process undertaken will, at least in the short term, protect the contracts of over 300 employees and offer the group the best opportunity to identify a purchaser.” He said a number of potential bidders had already come forward for its 10 outlets. Principle Leisure Group had a turnover of £10m and announced plans last year to open a chain of coffee shops. 

Could the company have been saved by a CVA?

Depends on the relationship with HMRC. If the business had built up substantial tax liabilities and had not been compliant then HMRC may have threatened to issue a winding up petition. There may not have been enough time to stop any advertisement of the winding up petition in the London Gazette, so a CVA may have been much more difficult (but still doable).  would have led to the bank accounts probably being frozen and the directors start losing control.   HMRC's patience is running out with many companies with failed time to pay deals and so if you are running up tax arrears you need to deal with them and take advice.

If you are a leisure industry operator in the North East you can contact our Gateshead office and talk to Eric Walls our National Director of Insolvency.  His number is 0191 482 3343.  He will be able to advise on what action to take if your business is receiving threats from HMRC or any other creditor for that matter, including your bank.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

New Financial Year - New Danger

The next couple of months are going to be crucial for retailers as consumers actually feel the effects of increased taxes and loss of some benefits rather than just hearing about them in the media.  The last couple weeks has seen  a raft of profit warnings from some big high street names;  Dixons, Mothercare, HMV (again) and Argos. A number of retailers have gone into administration;  Oddbins, Officers Club to mention a couple.  Marks and Spencer is issuing its fourth quarter results tomorrow and analysts are expecting a 6% fall in non food sales!

We have heard that councils are getting in tougher in collecting business rates as their own budgets are getting squeezed. 

Retailers will be hoping that there is no rise in interest rates anytime soon as that maybe the last straw.

If you are a struggling retailer then please get in touch. There are ways of surviving these difficult times.

What to do when things start to go wrong

The business recovery sector can sometimes be a frustrating industry as so many business people are in denial that they need help. 

Please take a look at our colleagues Insight Associates business hub webpage that has an excellent podcast on what to do when things go wrong.

Garry Mumford and his team at Insight Associates can help provide businesses with a good finance team that can help a business grow or be on hand to watch out for threats to the business's cashflow.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Maccity Limited Liquidation Notice

KSA Group Insolvency Notice

Maccity Limited

Meeting of the Creditors of the above named Company will be held at the offices of KSA Group Ltd, Tower 42, Level 7, 25 Old Broad Street, London, EC2N 1HN on 19 April 2011 at 10.30 am

Full Liquidation Notice

Friday, 1 April 2011

Sports Media Group Shares Suspended on AIM

Sports Media Group plc shares have been suspended on the AIM market "pending clarification of its financial position"  The company issued the following statement; "The Company has experienced an insufficient recovery in trading since the adverse weather in December 2010 (as announced on 25 February 2011) with consequential pressure on the Company's working capital position. This has led to uncertainty around ongoing support from its bankers.

The Group is the owner of newspapers the Sunday Sport and the Daily Sport and it provides digital content for online and mobile channels.

In the company's December 2009 accounts it made a loss of £29m on Turnover of £31m.  Shares last traded at 92p.
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