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Monday, 30 April 2012

NoSweat Journalism Training Ltd in Liquidation

A meeting of the Creditors of the above named Company will be held at The HubWorking Centre, 5 Wormwood Street, London, EC2M 1RQ on 18 May 2012 at 10.30 am

See full notice below

Clinton Cards considers CVA as part of strategic review it's reported

Clinton Cards is due to announce its plans following its strategic review over the coming days as it appears that the attempted sale of the Birthdays chain of shops has come to nothing.  Two sets of advisors have tried to sell the 139 store chain without success. 

Clinton cards has seen its profits fall sharply recently down to a £3.6m loss in the 6 months to January.  The 629 strong chain has hired KPMG as advisors to help turnaround the business.  KPMG (along with KSA Group) are experts at company voluntary arrangements (CVA) and will no doubt be looking at a CVA as an option to jettison some of the stores.   

Should Clinton Cards use an insolvency procedure, such as a CVA, then Keith Steven of KSA Group will be happy to comment on the procedure itself to journalists but of course will not have any specific information on Clinton Cards itself.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Haulage Companies - A CVA means you can hold onto your Operators Licence

One of the advantages of a CVA for a haulage company is that it can retain its Vehicle Operator's Licence (OL) as there is no change of ownership that would be the case in an administration sale or pre pack. 

Please read our new page on Operators Licences and insolvency issues

Portsmouth FC CVA approved yesterday.

Along with Port Vale, Portsmouth Football club have also managed to get their CVA approved.  This means that the club can now be restructured and a buyer be found for the club.  The administrators at PKF have also made 4 redundancies and renegotiated some of the wages.  The club owes £58m and it is the second time they have got into financial difficulties.

For a CVA to be successful it is important that the company and its management have to change.  There will often be redundancies and contracts renegotiated.  Obviously Portsmouth have gone into administration and are looking to exit via a CVA just like Port Vale.

Port Vale CVA proposal is accepted by creditors

I suppose it is fitting that our 1000th post on the Company Rescue Blog is to report the fact that a CVA has been approved by the majority of creditors.  In this case it was Port Vale's proposal and it was accepted by 87%.

 The club ran into trouble when it was unable to make a loan repayment to Stoke on Trent City council and was then placed under a transfer embargo.  In a separate instance HMRC had issued a winding up petition for unpaid taxes to the tune of £85k.  The loan from Stoke-on-Trent was for £2.25m.  We blogged about this back in February.

Since then the business was placed in administration and the administrators have found a likely buyer in Keith Ryder.  However the preferred route given that they wish to retain their  Football League registration is to exit the administration via a CVA.  The club can then be sold without having to re register.  In some ways it is similar to a pre pack administration.   The news paves the way for the transfer of Football League shares which the administrators anticipate will take place before the end of June.
At the time council leader Mohammed Pervez said: “The stark choice we were faced with was liquidation or administration "

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

UK in recession according to statistics

So the "double dippers" are having their day!  According to the GDP statistics, the UK economy shrank by 0.2% in the first quarter of 2012 indicating that the UK is back in recession.  This is bad news for the government as they try to force through more austerity cuts.  The argument that cuts are holding back growth or essential for economic prosperity will run and run. 

It is our view  that these statistics are perhaps not accurate given the overall volatility of the market and certain industry sectors like construction.   What is more the purchasing manager's indexes are showing growth and retail sales rose strongly in March.

Also, as 0.2%  is such a small figure could it be within the margin of error given that surely any statistic on the whole economy is only looking at a sampled data.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Mastertools UK Limited Liquidation Notice

Meeting of the Creditors of the above named Company will be held at The Midway, 263 Newbridge Lane, Stockport, Cheshire, SK1 2NX on 16 May 2012 at 11.30 am.

See full notice below

Fitness First in debt deal

According to reports in the Telegraph, Fitness First has struck a deal with its lenders over its £560m debt.  The lenders have signed a waiver over its quarterly interest rate bill of £18m but the shareholders will receive nothing and the company will be controlled by its lenders.  Oaktree and Marathon have acquired 77pc of the company's debt for an estimated 55p in the pound.  However it is understood that in order for them to inject the £100m into the company to keep in going there will need to be a radical restructuring of the business which will result in the closure of gyms and redundancies.  A company voluntary arrangement has not been ruled out as a way of achieving this. 

It is estimated that a third of the  gyms are not profitable.  A CVA will enable the firm to vacate these premises and any past or future lease obligations being bound by the arrangement.   However it will need the support of their landlords if they are a major creditor for the firm.  However, of course, the first option is to try and renegotiate the rent with the landlords as they will not want to see gyms close.

So our advice is if you have difficulty paying the rent then talk to your landlord!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Insolvency Advice from Company Rescue

Read our hundreds of pages of guides to insolvency in the UK.  We set out all the options for a company director that faces cashflow problems. is simply the best resource for insolvency advice

If you have ANY worries about your company's viability then we will be happy to talk to you and we offer a free meeting followed up by a solutions report.

Call our freephone number 0800 9700539

What if I can't keep up payments in a CVA

If the company in a CVA cannot pay its contributions then all is not lost.  See our new CVA page on what happens and how the problem can be solved.

Number of distressed companies fall year on year

According to Red Flag Alert, which looks at the health of the UKs companies, the number of businesses that faced "critical" financial problems fell year on year.  The first Quarter of 2012 saw a fall of 17% when compared with The first Quarter 2011.  The Manufacturing industry has been the main winner with a 49% fall in critical distress. 

However, the weak property market and low consumer confidence has hit other sectors. Property Services saw distress rise by 113 per cent in the first quarter and Construction saw a  94 per cent  but they fell 16 per cent and 13 per cent year on year. In total 154,370 companies were distressed, compared with 186,554 a year ago.

So what is the outlook for UK companies? 

Well, it is difficult to say but many businesses are able to take advantage of our flexible labour market.  As such, the recent reduction in the number of unemployed is mainly due to the increase in part time working. 

In our view much will depend on the actions of HMRC.  If last year is anything to go by, they will become more aggressive at collecting unpaid tax in late Spring and early Summer.  It is important that strong competitive companies are not undermined by companies that are carrying around an unsustainable debt to HMRC.

If however your business is viable if a proportion of your debt is written off then we can help you restructure using a CVA.  If you recieve a threat of a winding up petition then call us urgently as HMRC will move fast and we will need to persuade them that your business can survive.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Stuarts Industrial Flooring employees to be paid in full.

Following the collapse of Stuarts Industrial Flooring, the largest in situ concrete flooring specialist in the UK, the administrators at KPMG have reported that the employees will be paid in full all their arrears of pay.  The firm had a turnover of £22m but it owed trade creditors £1.5m.  It is unlikely that that unsecured creditors will receive any dividend.  Remarkably the company also had £4.1m of debtors but the surveying firm charged with collecting this in have only recovered £244,320.    Of course it is not known if all these debtors are still trading or indeed if the amounts in dispute that might explain the low collection rate but KPMG have said "a significant proportion" is uncollectable.

Employees were owed £78,000 and as they are preferential creditors they come before the trade creditors. 

So how do creditors rank in line when a business becomes insolvent?  See our page on creditors rights in insolvency

The business and its parent company Stuarts Holdings provide a cross guarantee to secure a £2m debt owed to Lloyds Banking Group by Stuarts Properties, a related company with common ownership which is outside the group.

"Should the cross guarantee be called upon by Lloyds, Stuarts Industrial Flooring will have a subrogated claim against Stuart Properties in respect of the bank's security held over the assets of this company," the administrators' report said. It is not yet know if Lloyds will call on the guarantee.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Expensive Partying.....?

Bankrupt Derek Carlyle has been handed the longest ever Bankruptcy Restriction Order (BRO) by a Scottish Court - 12 years.  A restriction order is granted if the court feels that the creditors need to be protected from an irresponsible or unscrupulous debtor.  The activities of the debtor are "restricted" for upto 15 years.

This particular order was granted after Derek Carlyle, following a court petition from Jewsons, sold a property for £584,000 and then within a year became bankrupt. He deposited the money into his fathers bank account which he controlled and then managed to withdraw most of it in cash.  At the court  he said under oath that he had given money to his mother, paid some legal fees and spent the remainder on an extravagant lifestyle including travelling, drinking and partying.  So he managed to blow most of it in a year!?   Although the trustee will be assuming that this money is more likely to have been moved offshore or spent on moveable assets.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Aquascutum in administration

Not surprisingly, as per our earlier blog, Aquascutum has gone into administration today. FRP Advisory are acting as the administrators to the 160 year old firm.  The company specialised in smart practical clothing and was part of Jaeger which was recently bought by Better Capital. 

Aquascutum, operates 3 high street stores, 16 concessions, 7 outlet stores, and 11 international concessions.  The firm did owe £11m to Jaeger and a winding up petition was issued against it last month.  The firm employs 250 people whose jobs are now hang in the balance.  The clothing company also has a factory in Northamptonshire.

Although not a very big company it is relatively high profile and underlines again what a fragile state many of the country's retailers are in. 

Please see our retailer rescue pages and see how you might be able to avoid a similar fate to Aquascutum.

Aquascutum to enter administration today?

After the news yesterday that Jon Moulton's Better Capital purchased the debts of Jaeger and took control of the business, sister company Aquascutum has been lined up for administration, today we understand.

Looking at the Jaeger accounts it is owed some £11m by Aquascutum. With the inter company debt looking to be written off, we are sure the banks will have been pleased to "get out" of Jaeger.

Heavily leveraged retailers need to restructure debts or be taken over as we blogged yesterday. Many more will use the CVA tool. KSA group has extensive experience in closing failing stores and restructuring unsecured and secured debts. Did you know that a CVA can terminate lease obligations, terminate employees contracts and cut costs? Read our 82 page Experts CVA Guide here (free book to  download).

Monday, 16 April 2012

Retailers need to refinance £7bn debt in 2012

In a report by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, they highlighted the fact that the UK's retailers have £7bn of  bank syndicated debt and bonds that need to be refinanced by the end of the year.  46 UK based retailers hold bank debt worth a combined £31bn due for maturity between now and 2018.  However, most interestingly just seven retailers account for 63% of this debt

Retailing is a difficult sector at the moment for obvious reasons so this high level of debt is of some concern as it may be more expensive to refinance if the investors lose more confidence in the sector.  High profile collapses such as Game Group and Peacocks has not helped confidence. 

With lease costs being the highest fixed cost for any retailer the lenders are looking to the landlords to take on some of burden to help avoid insolvency.  This may take the form of the landlords having to accept monthly rent payments.  Clinton cards has reportedly struck a deal with their landlords to do exactly that.  In more extreme situations a CVA or administration may be the only way to rid the companies of their unprofitable stores.

For information on how to help your retail business determine lease obligations then look at our retailer rescue page.

Trent Concrete site in revival

We reported in September 2010 that Trent Concrete had gone into administrative receivership as a result of the recession but it now appears that jobs are returning to the site in Nottingham.  JRL, the London-based construction firm, has bought the 12.5 acre site that belonged to Trent Concrete in Colwick and is looking to start manufacturing there again.  This could lead to more than 300 jobs in the region.  JRL is a large construction company with a turnover of £150m in 2010 and has been buying up companies.  It is understood that the firm is interested in gaining a foothold in the Midlands. 

Obviously the purchase of the site (price not disclosed) from the receivers has helped pay back some of the creditors but in the end it is the generation of new jobs that will be helpful for the region. 
It goes to show that all is not lost if a business goes into administration and even closes down as there may well be willing buyers to take over the operations without being burdened by debt.  The purchase of companies out of insolvency is an essential element of a properly functioning economy.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Clinton Considers Dumping Birthdays Stores Using CVA

Interesting article in Daily Mail saying that Clintons CEO is considering a company voluntary arrangement to deal with losses made by Birthdays Retail Ltd which it bought from administrators for £50m.

More next week....................

Friday, 13 April 2012

H&A Universal Limited Liquidation Notice

Meeting of the Creditors of the above named Company will be held at The Dial Bar Restaurant, 174/175 Station Street, Burton on Trent, DE14 1BN on 24 April 2012 at 11.15 am.

See full notice below

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Winding up petitions in slight fall in March

In our latest analysis of winding up petitions we can report on a fall in the number of winding up petitions advertised in March 2012 (610) when compared to March 2011 (650).  This is in contrast to the large increase  in the number advertised in February of this year. In February 2011 there were 537 winding up petitions advertised but in February 2012 this went up to 879! 

HMRC being the main creditor in most distressed situations uses a range of tactics to collect tax debts and a winding up petition is only one of them.  We have also seen an increase in the use of distraint. Basically they tend to vary their collection methods to test and see what is most effective.

A winding up petition is the most damaging debt collection tactic because if it is advertised the bank will freeze your business account.  As any transaction after an order is made can be reversed.

So don't let it get to that stage! If you have been served a winding up petition then you must act.

We can get a lawyer to argue for the petition hearing to be adjourned and in many cases this can be for more than 30 days and delay any advertisement.   This allows us time to draft a CVA and get the petition withdrawn. Call us on 0800 9700539 for details

Monday, 2 April 2012

Ellie Louise in administration

So, in answer to the previous blog it looks like the next retailer has gone into administration.  Ellie Louise, the Leeds based women's fashion retailer which has 97 stores in the UK and employs 439 people, is the latest to go into administration.  One reason for the failure has been the fact that it took over the Trade Secret brand in 2010 which according to the administrators "exacerbated" the firms problems.  Basically it was a simple case of falling consumer spending that has brought down the company.

The administrators have said that they will continue to trade the business for the time being in the hope of finding a buyer for all or part of the business.

AA Retail Enterprises Limited in Liquidation

A 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 11 April 2012 at 2.15 pm

See full notice below

Clinton Cards in the red

Game has been saved but closed hundreds of stores.  Who is likely to be in difficulty next?  A number of retailers have looked in trouble but many are still trading on despite large debts.  It appears that the banks have been very supportive of retailers where there are only a few players in the market.  Currys, HMV, Thomas Cook to name a few.  What about card retailers?  Clinton Cards is the big player in the market but it has seen profits evaporate and in the last half year reported a loss of £3.7m on revenues of £197m.   The sudden rise in the cost of stamps will be no doubt be weighing heavily on the minds of management.

The firm said its strategic review was on track for completion at the end of April. It said the review’s outcome would begin to benefit the business from the end of the second half in July.

Clinton Cards has seen stiff competition from the supermarkets and the internet.

Rangers closer to liquidation as tax tribunal decision nears

Things have gone quite well for Rangers recently with a reasonable performance on the pitch, the administrators sounding confident that the business could be sold and even some bills have been paid off.  But it is now only a matter of weeks or maybe days when the decision from the 1st tier tax tribunal is announced regarding the use of tax avoidance measures by the club in using Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs) to pay players.  The potential bill is likely to be £49m.

All the potential buyers of the club, Paul Murray's Blue Knight's consortium, Club 9 Sports and a party from Singapore ( that has not been letting on much about their intentions) have not ruled out putting the club into liquidation. if this happens

Still we think the most likely result is that the club will exit the administration via a CVA.

Everest Acquired by Better Capital

Better Capital, headed up by turnaround veteran Jon Moulton, has acquired replacement window and conservatories manufacturer and installer, Everest Limited in an undisclosed deal. Everest had sales of £173m last time.

Better Capital will take 95% of the equity and provide working capital of £25m. No news yet of the cost to acquire the some £33m of bank debt held by Bank of Scotland.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Will OpCapita Buy Game with Comet Dowry

OpCapita bought Comet Group plc from Kesa for £2, but was given £50m as part of the deal. Given that some Comet stores have Game Group concessions we can see why they (Comet/OpCapita)  wish to keep at least some of Game afloat.

With a £50m dowry and cashflow from Comet trading, will it pay anything for the Game stores it is buying, or will it use its power as a partial landlord to extract a deal?
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