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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Saab GB in administration

Saab GB, the UK arm of the Swedish car manufacturer, has appointed administrators.

With immediate effect, David Dunckley and Daniel Taylor of Grant Thornton UK LLP have been appointed joint administrators of Saab GB according to a press release.

Saab GB, employs 55 people in Milton Keynes and distributes the cars and parts to a 58 dealers across the UK of which 20 are "Saab only" sites. Saab City, a wholly owned subsidiary of Saab GB employing 65 people, operates two Saab motor dealerships, one in Wapping and a smaller site in Fulham
A buyer is being sought for the company.

A Saab GB customer hotline has been set up on 0845 300 9593 or visit for more details.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Looking for trustworthy insolvency advice?

If your business is in difficulty then you are stressed and worried.  How do you ensure that you are getting good unbiased quality advice on how to get yourself out of your difficulties?

Please see our new page that lists the various dubious tactics and claims made by some (thankfully small in number) unscrupulous traders in our industry, especially online.

If anyone has come across other bad practices then please send us a comment and we will add it to our list. 

George Osborne's Autumn Statement

This was going to be a tough one and with all the gloom and doom around George is going to need to give the economy some stimulus for growth.

The main headline is that public sector pay rises will be capped at 1%  for another 2 years after the current freeze ends.  This is going to enflame the already angry public sector workers further who are going on strike tomorrow over pensions.  I guess the unions chose the date of the 30th as they knew that the Autumn statement was not going to be popular.

Other main/important points so far are
  • The right to buy is coming back with the ability for occupier of social housing to buy their houses at a 50% discount.
  • Business finance partnership will have £1bn to help mid sized firms  ( we await the details )
  • Credit easing of £40bn with the aim to bring down interest rates by 1% for small firms.
  • Infrastructure spending to increase including a new rail link between Oxford, Bedford and Milton Keynes
  • Benefits will increase by 5.2% as per the September inflation rates.
  • Tax credits to be cut
  • Fuel and train fares increases less than originally planned
  • More tax breaks for investing in businesses.

Not much direct help for small businesses so far except the business rates holiday for small firms which is being extended to April 2013.  Small firms need lower business rates period!  The credit easing is good in principle but not sure how well it will work in practice

Monday, 28 November 2011

DebtDr owes clients £600,000

According to an investigation by the BBC the Somerset-based DebtDr has taken £600,000 of clients monies that was supposed to be protected and was to be offered to the clients' creditors as full and final settlement for a small fee. In many cases, clients borrowed the money to give to DebtDr to use in its negotiations with creditors.

Liquidators are investigating the company, which ceased trading in April.

Mr Hockley, who was previously made bankrupt ran DebtDr as the trading name of Hermes Financial Solutions Ltd.

The company closed down and Mr Hockley disappeared.  However, it appears the BBC's "Inside Out" programme ( to be shown tonight  7.30pm BBC1 ) have tracked him down to a nightclub which he is helping to run. 

Hermes Financial Solutions was wound up in July of this year and a liquidator appointed.

The liquidator, Jon Law, told the BBC: "This investigation has now substantially completed and it is clear that around £600,000 of client money belonging to more than 80 clients of the company has been used improperly and is no longer held by the company."

Lime Foods Design Limited Liquidation Notice

Lime Foods Design Limited

A meeting of creditors of the above company will be held at the offices of KSA Group Ltd, Tower 42, Level 7, 25 Old Broad Street, London, EC2N 1HN on 7 December 2011 at 12.00 pm.

See the full notice below

Friday, 25 November 2011

Can I strike off a company if it is insolvent?

In short, no you cannot.  It is one of the conditions that a company can only be "struck off" the companies house register if it is not insolvent.  Or more precisely it is not subject to a formal insolvency procedure and any creditors can object to the striking off.   So, for all intents and purposes it is not advisable to try and strike off a company that has substantial sized debts.

Please read our new page on striking off a limited company

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Cosalt plc in debt talks

Shares in Cosalt fell 36% yesterday when the company announced that it did not have enough working capital to last the month.  The company said it had just £900,000 of banking facilities.  The company supplies safety equipment and protective workwear to offshore drillers in the North Sea.

Cosalt said that it was looking to appoint restructuring advisors to try and sell off assets or refinance its debts.  The debts of the company amount to £12.3m.  The chairman and biggest shareholder, David Ross, is in talks to buy the company and has offered £405,000 to take it into private ownership.  The value of the net assets would need to be independently valued to avoid accusations of there being a transaction at an undervalue and the business will need to be marketed according to SIP16 rules.

One option for the company might be to do a pre pack administration with the company being able to write off some of its debts.

This is the second publicly listed company that has asked for more money this week.  Of course the big one was Thomas Cook who have asked for a further £100m from their bankers to avoid them breaching their banking covenants.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

HMRC to demand PAYE deposits in 2012

From April 2012 HMRC will have the power to demand deposits from new companies for PAYE and class 1 NIC contributions.

It is expected that they will ask for PAYE deposits for the same reasons as they currently do for VAT deposits

Directors of the new company have failed to comply with tax legislation in the past and have a record of building up arrears are some of the reasons given.

Read our new page on PAYE security deposits

Monday, 21 November 2011

CBI Conference Today - Prime Minister announces £400m for housebuilding

With the backdrop of falling stockmarkets, low growth, budget deficits and restless populations in the Eurozone, US and the Middle East, the CBI conference has much to talk about!

Basically, the government needs to be seen to be promoting growth and David Cameron has just unveiled a £400m fund to "unblock" housing projects that are "shovel ready" but have been unable to go ahead because of a lack of funding.  The plan is  they can provide jobs, growth, and affordable housing. So an ambitious plan then.  £400m though, is pretty small in the grand scheme of things.  Many builders have gone into administration as they have been unable to complete projects or margins have been squeezed.  However, such a scheme does run the risk of throwing good money after bad.  Many would prefer to see old stock renovated or house prices just coming down in value to make them affordable. 

The government has also pledged to underwrite the risk of owning a home by offering to underwrite potential losses on a proportion of mortgages.  The government's record on these sort of schemes has been patchy as takeup has been slow or processing them has been buried under red tape but we will see how this works.

Blogged by Robert Moore of KSA Group

Friday, 18 November 2011

Jam IT Media Creditors Voluntary Liquidation Notice

KSA Group Insolvency Notices

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 29 November 2011 at 12.15 pm

See the full notice below

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Retail sales in unexpected rise

Retail sales are one of the two statistics that seem to go against expected outcomes,  the other being house prices.  The mood of everyone seems to be darkening due, no doubt, to the following; 

Eurozone crisis
Record youth unemployment past the psychologically important 1m
Rise in companies going into administration (third quarter only however)
Consumer confidence falling
Low growth

BUT retail sales have shown a surprise rise!  In fact, sales volumes in small stores rose 5.3% year-on-year - the biggest increase since November 2004 and there was a 0.4% rise overall.  Of course, inflation should be taken into consideration but the rise has been attributed to price cuts and early Christmas promotions.  It just goes to show that the UK shopper loves a bargain. 

Many retailers are reporting that sales are flat and they are struggling but many of these are publically listed so have to give trading updates. 

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

SeaFrance in Liquidation

SeaFrance has been unable to stay afloat.  A court in Paris rejected two bids to save the firm that employs more than a thousand people.  As such the business has been put into liquidation as of today.

The court said the company's Calais to Dover services would continue until January 28 next year and that new bids to take it over would be accepted until December 12, but that the existing offers were unacceptable.

One offer, the court said, would result in too many job losses which it felt would trigger further industrial action that would damage the struggling firm.  The other was put forward by the union but the court felt that there was no capital to finance such a project. It also said that the offer for the ferries was too low.

The 2008 financial crisis also hit the firm hard, and last year it shed 700 jobs and was put into receivership. It currently employs 880 permanent staff, and 200 on short-term seasonal contracts.

Of course the case of SeaFrance will be under European Law so we cannot comment on the details.


Tuesday, 15 November 2011

New pages to help law firms now on

If you are a law firm, do any of the following apply?

Is your practice experiencing cashflow problems?
Are you worried that insolvency may affect your ability to practice in the future?
You don’t want to risk the SRA Intervention
Are you concerned about paying your professional indemnity premiums?
Could Legal Services Act (LSA) be a threat to your business model?

If so then you should take a look at our Help for Lawyers Pages

On these pages we will help you distill all of these problems and the options available into a recovery plan. It will set out the preferred non insolvency route and a one or two pronged back up approach.

As KSA Group were behind the first company voluntary arrangement (CVA) for a LLP law firm in 2008, we know a thing or two about fixing these problems, setting out a recovery plan and driving the business forward. We are currently helping a number of law practices and felt that we should launch some new pages setting out the options for those practices that might be struggling.

Read our Help for Lawyers Pages here

Compulsory liquidations up in the construction sector

According to the Insolvency Service, the number of construction businesses that have been wound up by the courts  has increased by 24% with 244 construction companies entering compulsory liquidation in the third quarter of this year.

There have been almost 1000 construction companies going out of business in the past three months.
The number of construction companies entering administration has risen from 85 to 94 representing a 10.5% over the last three months and this is up 38% from last year, while construction companies taking out company voluntary arrangements were up 30% quarter on quarter and were up 50% compared to the same quarter last year.

Recently there has been a flurry of construction companies closing down such as Holloway White Allom and Linford Construction.  Despite an upturn in construction activity many contracts are being won on negative margins.  As such the sector has difficult times ahead.

We have rescued a number of building companies over the years by using company voluntary arrangements.  Read our CVA case study

Monday, 14 November 2011

HMRC distraint actions on the rise

According to figures produced by the law firm McGrigors, the number of companies whose assets have been seized for late payment of tax has risen fourfold in the last two years.   In the twelve months to April 2011 HMRC have distrained  7,004 up from 1,675 in the year to April 2009.

We are hearing of more and more instances where this is happening.  HMRC have lost their preferred creditor status so are ranked at the same level as trade creditors.  In effect they are unsecured creditors.  However, as any debt to HMRC is regarded as not in dispute they have other powers to collect their debt.  They can take possession of goods under a distraint notice without needing to go to court.

HMRC have said that they do not use this power where there are historical debts and the company is otherwise viable.

In any distraint action the bailiff cannot take "tools of the trade" as this would mean that the business is irrecoverably damaged.

So, if you have a distraint threat or have been visited by an HMRC officer or Bailiff , then you must ACT. In the event that the business is not viable going forward call us and we can put the company into liquidation quickly and lower the risk of personal liability.

KSA Group Insolvency Notices

Pogue Construction Limited in Liquidation
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 29 November 2011 at 10.45 am

See the full notice of liquidation below

RAM Express Limited in Liquidation

Meeting of the Creditors of the above named Company will be held at The Great Barr Hotel, Pear Tree Drive, Newton Road, Great Barr, West Midlands, B43 6HS on 1 December 2011 at 2.15 pm

See the full notice below

Friday, 11 November 2011

Lifehouse Spa in administration

Lifehouse Spa an exclusive establishment frequented by celebrities has gone into adminstration having only opened last December.  The £30million spa employs 157 people and they have been told that their jobs are not under threat

The Spa is to stay will  open as normal, but the administrators at Grant Thornton UK LLP, have taken over the running of the Lifehouse and have put it up for sale.

In a statement, the company assured customers that any bookings made and vouchers sold prior to the administration will be honoured.   The company also hopes that the Christmas period will be boost to the cashflow.

Lifehouse has 89 bedrooms, 35 treatment rooms, a gym, swimming pool and is situated in 130 acres of grounds in Thorpe.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Phone Trouble in London

Just to let our customers know that there is a problem with our London phone number 020 7877 0050 today. 

If you cannot get through the first time then you can normally connect on the second attempt.  Engineers are currently trying to fix the problem. 

If you are unsuccessful then please call our head office on 01289 309431 and they will be able to get a message to us.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Argus Care in Administration

Argus Care Group based in Aberdeen which provides residential care at homes in Scotland and the North of England has gone into administration.  The firm has 12 care homes and employs 800 people.  The homes have 500 residents.

Bryan Jackson, of PKF who are handling the administation, said: “We will continue to operate the homes as normal while they are in administration.  He added that there were no plans to close any of the homes or make people redundant...   They have also said that continuity of care is a top priority and that everyone will be informed of developments.

So what is likely to happen?  It depends on the situation, but Southern Cross that recently went into administration may offer some indications.  In Southern Cross's case the landlords  of the group, who were care providers themselves, had to takeover the running of the homes and landlords that didn't had to accept big cuts in the rents.  Of course, the group could be sold and some residents may be relocated.

The absence of bad press on how residents have fared under Southern Cross offers some comfort for those relatives of those in the care of Argus Care.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Pre-pack Administration for DTZ?

Share price of DTZ the listed surveyors collapsed 85% yesterday as shareholders warned that any sale will not yield any return for shareholders.

Does this mean that any buyer will want to take on the secured debt, which is north of £106m due next year? Perhaps a  pre-pack administration is on the cards?

In any event the company's loss of value from £500m over 5 years is eye watering.

Monday, 7 November 2011

AC Yule in Administration

AC Yule, which supplies glass, architectural aluminium and PVC throughout Scotland was placed into administration on Monday.  KPMG are the administrators.

AC Yule has bases in Aberdeen, Elgin, Livingston, Forfar, Glasgow and Boldon, near Sunderland and employs 300 people.  According to reports staff at Aberdeen and Elgin have already been told that they are to be made redundant.

In July this year, the firm shed around 120 jobs after shutting its fabrication factory in England, citing a slowdown in contracting work throughout the construction industry.

A number of suppliers to the construction industry have found themselves in difficulty.

If you are  a struggling business based in Scotland then talk to us as administration or liquidation is not the only option. There is only one company driving the company rescue culture in Scotland. - KSA Group. 

Call our Scottish number 0131 242 0081 and speak to an advisor today

Friday, 4 November 2011

Time for this clown Cable to go?

The fact that the UK has a "Business" Secretary who seems at odds with the main business constituency he is supposed to look after, is bad enough. Add to that his apparent inability to understand the VAT threshold - this is the amount of sales where you start charging and recovering VAT on sales over £73,000pa, which us lowly SME business folk have to deal with, or risk a fine.

Then add the staggering incompetence of his local constituency office, whose intelligent employees failed to shred confidential local constituents waste.

Time for this incompetent clown to be replaced if he, as I expect, doesn't have the dignity to resign.

PS Vince here is a link to the guide page of the HRMC that shows what the VAT threshold is, yes your government publishes this!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Hearts Winding Up Order Avoided

According to the BBC, The Scottish Premier League Club Hearts has paid £500,000 to HMRC to avoid a winding up order being granted today.  The club had similar winding up orders served against it in 2009 and November 2010 over unpaid tax to HMRC. Both were settled after the club paid the bills.

However the club has still not paid wages that were due on the 16th October.  The players union has officially complained to the SPL. 

HMRC have taken a hard line against football clubs but the clubs still seem to take things to the wire. HMRC are challenging the Football Creditors Rule which in effect allows players and the leagues to be paid ahead of other creditors such as suppliers and HMRC in the event that the club goes into administration.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Company Debt Advice

Many businesses are doing better since 2008 but all the while they are being held back by an historic debt.  The reasons for the debt may have disappeared or the problem that caused it may have been sorted.  However, it still makes its presence felt but making it hard to arrange new finance and generally draining cashflow.

KSA Group can help companies by using rescue techniques such as CVAs, pre-pack administrations, trading administrations.  We can also negotiate on your behalf with HMRC to arrange time to pay VAT, PAYE and other taxes.

Have a look at our new page on company debt advice which highlights a number of reasons why businesses find themselves in debt and what can be done about it.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

MF Global (UK) in Administration

The UK division of MF Global has gone into administration, meaning some 700 staff face losing their jobs.
MF Global, a broker of commodities and derivative futures products, has filed for Chapter 11 protection following its exposure to indebted countries in the Eurozone. This will mean that the UK division of the business will be wound down.

It is understood that all 725 staff at London's Canary Wharf will eventually be made redundant although Administrator Richard Fleming of KPMG said it would not be not be viable to operate MF Global UK on a standalone basis.

He added: "Against the backdrop of challenging market conditions and the eurozone crisis, the financial position of MF Global UK has significantly deteriorated in recent weeks."

The company emerged out of hedge-fund operator Man Group in 2007.

MF Global collapse has been felt across the whole financial system and some commodity exchanges around the world have been effected.  Most notably the Australian Commodities Market has been shut down by ASX meaning their is no trading market in wool or grain down under until further notice....!  MF Global had an 80% share of this market.

All this news about large financial collapses adds to the unease being presently felt.   No doubt other institutions will start to have cashflow problems too.

GDP has grown by 0.5% in the last quarter

GDP has grown by  0.5 percent in the quarter to September as business services and finance showed strong increases.  This was stronger than economists expected.  However, the last quarter of 2011 has not started well with a sharp loss in manufacturing output in October. The instability in the Eurozone will further dent export growth. 

Economists see most of the third quarter growth as a mere rebound from weak growth of 0.1 percent in the second quarter when an extra holiday for the royal wedding and supply-chain disruptions caused by the tsunami in Japan.

Despite all the gloom and doom it is interesting to note that GDP is rising at all and house prices continue to rise, albiet at only 0.4% in the latest statistics.  There appears to be some disconnect between what the average person is  experiencing and the statistics.  House price growth is being driven by the higher priced properties.

The Christmas period will be key to get an idea of how domestic demand is holding up.
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