Please visit for confidential help and insolvency advice or email

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Debt management firms to be banned from social media?

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is looking at whether the use of social media or google adverts is an appropriate medium for debt management firms.  They are looking at ways at tackling "unfair business practices"

The OFT do not regulate the debt management industry but do issue licences and guidance so their views are important.  They are not proposing a complete ban on the use of social media networks as long as their information is "balanced and adequate".  The problem with social networks is the amount of information given is often short.  However as long as any posts, tweets, etc are pointing to a legitimate and "fair" website there should not be any problem what is more internet users have come to expect this.

In general, any attempt to regulate their use of the internet is fraught with difficulty.  The public and other professionals are more likely to welcome proper oversight or regulation to stamp out any cowboys out there, no matter how they come to the market.  Social media is an increasingly important channel for companies to reach their customers.  Also social media can be useful in exposing scams.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

La Senza to restructure and may sell or close stores.

According to reports over the weekend, La Senza, the lingerie and clothing chain with 180 stores, is looking to restructure its business.  The owners, Lion Capital, have been speaking to advisors about how they can close or sell some of their underperforming stores. 

It is understood that as many as 66 of the stores are leased via Contessa, the sister lingerie chain, that was acquired in 2004.

This could mean that there is the option to put any unwanted leases into Contessa and sell or close them, at a time of dreadful trading on the high street. Up to a quarter of the lingerie group's 180 branches could be offloaded.

Of course, the landlords would have to agree to any assignment of the leases into Contessa.  However, if it was just the Contessa leases that are poorly performing then it could be argued that Contessa could be put into liquidation or administration and the leases disclaimed.  However this scenario is unlikely.  There are issues of whether these leases have been novated into La Senza as they have been paying the rent on them. 

Other options could be a CVA which will allow the chain to offload underperfoming stores.

The outcome very much depends on the position of the landlords and whether the poorly performing stores are leased via Contessa or not.  Matters will be brought to a head on the rent quarter day on 29th September 2011 no doubt.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Is Buffet bailing out Bank of America like he did with Goldman Sachs?

Read the book; “Too Big to Fail”, great analysis of the 2008 Credit Crisis. Buffet was the lender of last resort in 2008, when Berkshire Hathaway bought equity with an aggressive coupon in Goldman Sachs. Same again for BOA?

Legal Aid Cuts Point To Lean Times for Lawyers

Lawyers, law firms, and law centres are in for a tough time as the government introduces plans this week for an additional 10% cut in legal aid fees.  This is on top of the already annnounced 12.5% cuts which has been blamed for the collapse of the legal centre, Law for All,  and the going into administration of the Immigration Advisory Service ( IAS)

The proposal is being put before parliament by the Ministry of Justice to reduce costs in what it alleges is the "most expensive legal aid system in the world".  However, it is possible that the proposal will be voted down by MPs as a cut too far.

For many firms some legal aid work was viewed as a back up in lean times.

There are solutions for law firms that find themselves in difficulty.  Please see how we rescued an LLP Law firm

Partnerships can be rescued using a Partnership Voluntary Arrangement or PVA

We are currently advising law firms at the moment on how to survive difficult times.

We are happy to meet with Partners, followed up by a 20+ page solutions report setting out the options.  All this for absolutely no obligation charge. 

Empty shops and falling footfall making retailing tougher

The British Retail Consortium have published figures that has shown a fall of 1% in the number of shoppers on the streets in the last year.  This comes as no real surprise as high street retailers have been suffering.  But the footfall figures are broken down by region that shows some interesting trends.

Wales, has seen a footfall fall of 9.2%. The West Midlands has shown a 6.6% fall. However, London has seen an increase of footfall by 1.6%, while Scotland has had a rise of 0.2%.

The number of shops empty does not look good either with almost one in 10 shop premises empty.

The overall vacancy rate stands at 11.2%  with Northern Ireland experiencing a terrible 17.1% vacancy rate, Wales looks bad as well with 13.4% and the north of England has 13.1%.

The problem with vacant shops is once a parade starts looking empty no shoppers go there and the rest suffer.  In shopping centres this can be more easily managed over time by relocating tenants but on the streets this is simply not the case

Remember our page on Retail Rescue that shows how you can close down underperforming stores and take action to save your business.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Adroit Construction Services in Administration

Adroit Construction Services, based in Bromsgrove, which employed 80 people at its peak and had a turnover of £10m has been placed into administration.  The business operated in the water and energy sector performing process and M&E services.    

Their website states - "Our five key areas of activity are in the Water, Energy, Infrastructure, Renewable Energy and Process sectors. Arguably the water sector is our dominant industry and our services include virtually all aspects of waste and potable water installations, and focus on pumping station applications in particular."

No reason for the demise of the contractor has been given to the Construction Enquirer who originally broke the story.

The contractor is part of the Adroit Group which has taken on the lease at Donnington Park to revitalise the racetrack venue.

Administrator Mark Bowen of MB Insolvency in Birmingham is handling the affairs of Adroit Construction Services.  You can contact them on 01213 596 455.

Monday, 22 August 2011

A testimonial about our professional approach

Client Testimonial!

"After a previous restructuring which made it very difficult for the company to proceed in a profitable manner, the board asked KSA Group, and others, to summarise and review our corporate situation. The plans laid out by KSA Group were clear, professionally presented and in a sympathetic manner for management to understand. It was unfortunate in hindsight that the board decided to work with another insolvency practitioner but it soon became obvious that KSA had a better approach with more reasonable fee structure and a much stronger ethic to succeed.

The result is a company now able to return to profitability and provide the creditors with a reasonable chance of receiving a dividend. Because it is now free of short term cash flow problems management are able to focus on rebuilding the business.

Any insolvency or CVA procedure is fraught with emotion and difficulty but at the end of the day the approach by KSA Group was superb. We did experience many technical difficulties but the calm manner and expertise with which the whole KSA Group team dealt with them was excellent.

I would thoroughly recommend them."
For more testimonials on how we have helped our clients please see our testimonials page

Friday, 19 August 2011

Stephen Hunt of Griffins takes Bridge Insolvency Cases

Failed insolvency firm Bridge Business Recovery cases that were overseen by James Bradney have been tarnsferred by the court to Stephen Hunt and Tim Bramston, of insolvency practice Griffins.

Insolvency Today reports that a block transfer of Bradney's cases has been made to Griffins where Bradney was the lead partner on those appointments.

Where the remaining partners at Bridge were the lead partners on their cases, these appointments have transferred to them in their respective new roles at Leonard Curtis and Harrisons.

The transfers follow the appointment of Samantha Bewick and Colin Haig of KPMG as joint administrators of Bridge in July.

The ICAEW has revoked the insolvency licence of James Bradney.

TJ Hughes Administration uncovers £350million unsecured debts

Whilst the administrator has closed down many of the stores with closing down sales this weekend across the NW for example, the shocking scale of the debts has been revealed.

Including landlords claims and secured debts, this company had debts of more than £430m  of which £350m is unsecured.

With last accounts showing sales of circa £230m this is a huge debt mountain. Likely recovery for unsecured creditors is nil to a few pence in each £1.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

What is a winding up petition? What does it mean for my company if we get one?

A frequently asked question and with HMRC, builders merchants, suppliers and other creditors claiming down on slow payment there are signs that the use of winding up petitions is on the rise.

See here for a guide to winding up petitions and winding up orders

We are often told, "well a creditor has threatened a winding up petition but we don't think they will do it". Wrong, HMRC in particular is moving from 7 day warning letter to petitions quickly now.

So if you have a threat of a winding up petition act fast - get advice from a  professional turnaround or insolvency advisor and make sure you maintain a dialogue with the creditor. We suggest that you make modest payments on account if at all possible.

By not acting, the directors may allow an irate creditor (such as the Crown for taxes) to issue a winding up petition.

This can lead to greater risk for the directors and any shadow directors. The Official Receiver or subsequent liquidator will interview the directors and officers of the company to examine their conduct.

Most often there is little return for the creditors.

Once a winding up petition has been served on the company the board may not

• Sell any of the assets or

• Propose a creditors voluntary liquidation and

• Cannot appoint an administrator without an expensive Court application

Once a winding up petition has been advertised the company’s bank account will be frozen.

We would urge directors to avoid this at all costs. You must make a decision to act.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Accounting Web Blog by KSA Group, Free Toolkit

How to advise your accountancy clients if they're struggling financially.

Please read our new Blog on Accounting Web on how to spot distressed companies or traders and how accountants can carefully approach them to help. Whilst preserving clients and your income.

Why not ask for your Professional Toolkit free exclusively for all accountants who send us an email request, contains a free DAILY cashflow model to give to your clients to manage cash, Experts Time to Pay Programme, a free Experts Guide to Dissolving a Company and the dozens of warning signs we have spotted over the years. Plus a straight forward guide to all turnaround and insolvency options (in English). You can guide your clients to the right options.

Included are the unique Experts Guide to Company Voluntary Arrangements and Experts Guide to Creditors Voluntary Liquidation. Hundreds of pages of guides free for the professional advisor to use over and over again.

All in easy to use USB stick that you can keep in your desk or briefcase. Send PDF's (easy to open and send)  and excel cashflow spreadsheets right off the stick to your clients, as many times as you like. Easy to use on any pc or laptop.

Email Keith Steven now for your free toolkit

Friday, 5 August 2011

Corporate Insolvency Figures For 2nd Quarter 2011

There were 4,233 compulsory liquidations and creditors’ voluntary liquidations in total in England and Wales in the second quarter of 2011 (on a seasonally adjusted basis). This was an increase of 2.7% on the previous quarter and an increase of 4.4% on the same period a year ago.
This was made up of 1,290 compulsory liquidations (which are up 19.8% on the previous quarter and up 11.1% on the corresponding quarter of the previous year), and 2,943 creditors’ voluntary liquidations (which are down 3.3% on the previous quarter but up 1.7% on the corresponding quarter of the previous year).

Additionally, there were 1,232 other corporate insolvencies in the second quarter of 2011 (not seasonally adjusted) comprising 350 receiverships, 695 administrations and 187 company voluntary arrangements. In total these represented a decrease of 6.0% on the same period a year ago.

These figures, again, don't really tell the whole story. 

Administrations are down as the popularity of the pre pack administration mechanism mechanism falls out of favour coupled with the fact that lenders are not  keen to crystallize their losses by calling in the administrators.  Also where an administration was previously possible currently more of these situations are turning into liquidations.

The sharp rise in compulsory liquidations is a reflection of how the HMRC is moving more quickly to issue a winding up petition against a company that owes it tax.  In fact, in May of this year, it appears that thousands of 7 day warning letters were sent out by HMRC as we received a higher level of calls than usual where this was a factor.  Obvious advice here is DO NOT ignore this letter as HMRC WILL issue a petition in 7 days.

So there are three factors at work here:  The economy, HMRC, and the banks.  Insolvency statistics are therefore not a good guide to the health of the economy. 

Of course, recent turmoil in the world markets today could cause further problems for companies going forward.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Regional Manager opportunities working with KSA Group / Company Rescue

1. Are you keen to help struggling businesses?

2. Have you held a senior position in a company that has experienced or been close to insolvency?

3. Do you think it could have been handled better ?

4. Can you work from home?

5. Are you prepared to travel ?

6. Would you like to work with a company that has rescued more businesses than anyone else? With a superb website that generates local leads for you?

7. Would you like to be trained by leading turnaround experts and build a rewarding career advising worried directors and rescuing viable companies?

8. Could you work alongside boards and help them turn things around?

9. Flexible Hours, good income for those that work hard.

Exclusive regions available for an initial licence fee and self starters. KSA Group Regional Managers are provided with continuous support and training by KSA directors. Build a rewarding business with KSA.

Full training provided over 4 days, online and printed training manuals provided, support at new client meetings by experts and marketing support from our marketing team.

If most of these apply to you then we would like to hear from you urgently - Especially if you are based in Scotland.  -  Call KSA Group Ltd on 020 7877 0050 or Keith Steven on 07974 086779. No agencies please!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Holidays 4U in administration

Holidays 4 U has collapsed into administration with some 12,000 holiday makers abroad.  The administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) would be responsible for getting home those already abroad - as long as they had booked flights as part of a package holiday.

It also advised anyone who had not already travelled to not go to the airports. 

Customers in the UK can call the CAA call centre on 0844 4933 037.
Customers in resort can call the CAA call centre on +441614445810

It is estimated that Holidays 4U had about 40,000 to 50,000 forward bookings and was licensed to carry 66,000 passengers during the July to September 2011 period,

Brighton-based Holidays 4 UK, which also traded as Aegean Flights, sold packages and flights to Turkey.

Please do not call our number on this blog if you are a holidaymaker affected as we will not have any more information than which appears here.  If we have to field calls we will have to delete this post which would be unfortunate.

Jonap in administration

John O’Neill and Partners, commonly known as Jonap, has fallen into administration.  The firm was a specialist fit out firm with a last reported turnover of nearly £15m.

Jonap has won a number of high-profile contracts, including the fit-out of Conservative HQ in Millbank Tower.

A winding up petition  was recently heard last Thursday and Leonard Curtis were appointed  as administrators on the same day.
It is understood that  the firm was forced into administration following payment disputes on the £100m luxury Corinthia Hotel refurbishment on which it was the main contractor.

The administrator has confirmed the appointment but has not yet made any comment as to the impact of the administration on employees and customers of Jonap.

Interestingly, the construction sector has shown some recent growth.  A bright spot in an otherwise very gloomy economic picture with manufacturing stalling and the loss of confidence in the global economic recovery.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Four TJ Hughes stores sold - Saving 442 jobs

Following on from our earlier blog about TJ Hughes falling into administration in June we can report that 4 stores have been sold to Lewis's Home Retail safeguarding 442 jobs.  The store in Liverpool ( the company's traditional home) is one that has been saved.  Other stores are Eastbourne, Glasgow and Sheffield.

Administrators at Ernst and Young said it was still looking to sell the remaining business and assets, which includes 53 remaining stores.

GA Europe has bought TJ Hughes's £10m debt and is holding clearance sales at the shops acround the country.

What a client thinks of KSA Group - A testimonial

We do have some happy clients! 

Going through an insolvency process is stressful but often the reality is not as bad as many percieve.  A voluntary liquidation ensures that the pressure is taken off the directors and the business is closed down in an orderly and fair way.

Liquidation of an IT company

I just wanted to thank you and the team for helping me and indirectly my family through what was a very difficult time, both emotionally and financially. Wayne was fantastic at putting me at ease and throughout the whole insolvency process, it was less stressful than I had first anticipated; many thanks Wayne.

I must say the the professionalism and personal touch of the whole team was exemplary. From the first introductory meeting all the way through the final insolvency process. What was a significant factor in my decision to assign KSA Group was the feedback given by previous clients and the sensitive way in which my case was dealt with because the circumstance leading up to the difficult decision to apply for insolvency were extra ordinary. My deepest thanks to everyone and as promised I will ask the wife to bake some special KSA Group class cupcakes for the team to enjoy which I will deliver personally.

Many many thanks...

Kindest Regards,


1st August 2011

Monday, 1 August 2011

The Loft Shop in Liquidation ( update )

Update 31st August 2011:  Since posting this blog, as below, on the 1st August 2011 it appears that The Loft Shop has NOT gone into liquidation, but administration.  However, liquidation may follow.  The employees of the the business had been made redundant with liquidation given as the reason. As such the local press believed this also to be the case.

We said;

The Loft Shop that operated out of the Lineside Industrial Estate in Wick (East Sussex) has gone into liquidation.  The firm had 19 stores across the country.  Their website is still in operation and the directors have opened a new business doing the same thing in Chichester.  This has angered many of the former employees as non of the former staff have been recruited at the new store.    Does this sound fair?

As is often the case many people assume some wrong doing. So lets take some of these points and explain.
A director is perfectly entitled to start a new business if he was a director of a previous company that went into liquidation.  However, there are strict rules in re-using the company name under section 216 of the insolvency act.  Basically, you can't without leave of the court, which is very rare.  This new shop uses a completely different name. 

The director claimed that he had put in £350k of his own money to keep the business afloat after the credit crunch otherwise jobs would have been lost sooner.  - This is something we do see and it will come out in the liquidation report how much he has put in as a creditor of the business.  A liquidation report will be sent to the employees by the insolvency practitioner so they will be able to see for themselves.

With respect of the website it is often the case that this remains in place as it is an asset of the company that can be sold in order to try and get some monies for the creditors.  In this case it looks as if the website has been bought by the new company, Kaysted Ltd, that is run by the former directors.  They will have had to pay a fair market price for the website that would have been valued independently.  However, in the circumstances it would have been lower than if the business was trading profitably.  Perhaps it wasn't so crucial after all.

KSA Group Insolvency Notices

Jay Engineering Limited:

Creditors Meeting of the above named Company will be held at The Nadder Hall, Weaveland Road, Tisbury, SP3 6HF on 9 August 2011 at 12.15 pm for the purposes mentioned in Section 99 to 101 of the said Act.

See the full notice below;

Foremost Engineering Services Limited:

Creditors meeting of the above named company will be held at the offices of KSA Group Ltd, C12 Marquis Court, Marquis Way, Team Valley, Gateshead, NE11 0RU on 17 August 2011 at 11.00

See full notice below;

Innes Asset Management Limited:

Meeting of the Creditors of the above named Company will be held at the offices of KSA Group Ltd, Level 7, Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, London, EC2N 1HN on 17 August 2011 at 12.00 pm.

See full notice below;
Web Analytics