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Thursday, 31 January 2013

Guide for employees if their company goes into administration or other insolvency procedure

The unfortunate side effect of administrationsliquidation and other forms of company insolvency is that often employees are made redundant.

It has to be said that many people in the insolvency profession are not very good at explaining to employees what their rights are, what options they have, and what to do to make claims for redundancy and lieu of notice.

We have therefore launched our new guide for employees facing redundancy due to insolvency.   Click on the employees in insolvency link to go to the guide.  The guide is designed to help those people worried about impending insolvency, directors who need to explain to their people what will happen in insolvency and those made redundant by administrators, liquidators or through a company voluntary arrangement.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Cobbetts in administration move

The Manchester law firm, Cobbetts, has filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators according to the  This move is to protect the company until a buyer is hopefully found.

Cobbetts has nearly 500 staff and offices in Birmingham, Leeds and London. Staff were informed of the administration this morning.

Cobbetts reported a fee income of £45.2m in the year to the end of April 2012 and had pre tax profits of £9.9m but it had debts of more than £10m. As Cobbetts is an LLP, this profit is before the designated members have taken drawings.

The firm blamed continued tough trading in the professional services sector for its downfall.

The firm said: “Having regard to the difficult trading conditions in the professional services sector we have reluctantly concluded that the appropriate course at this time is for the firm to obtain the protection of an interim statutory moratorium to enable a sale of the business and assets of the firm to be concluded in a short time frame."
“We are also working closely with our regulator, the SRA. with all stakeholders and our professional advisers to achieve the best outcome for creditors, clients, employees and members."

This collapse is the largest since Halliwells in 2010 which was acquired in a pre-pack administration by several firms including Birmingham-based Gateley, Hill Dickinson and Barlow Lyde & Gilbert.

This may be a sign that the banks are getting more ready to call in their debts.  A number of companies have collapsed in the last week or two.

If your law firm is struggling then there are solutions.  See KSA Group' pages on help for law firms.

RTI to be in force in April. Are you ready?

The Telegraph wrote another piece highlighting the change that is about to come and hit small businesses - The start of "Real Time Information Reporting" or RTI for the payment of PAYE taxes.  All businesses will need to be compliant by the 5th April 2013.  Yes, that is a couple of months away.  PAYE will need to be paid over and reported monthly as opposed to the end of the tax year.  If you pay weekly then it will need to be reported and paid over weekly...

In some ways this is a good thing in that there isn't the panicky complicated form filling at the end of the year BUT only if you are aware of it and your payroll system is using software that is compliant.  If not then it could be a major headache.  Playing catch up after the 5th April could be tricky.

In the end it is likely to be businesses that are not compliant and are in arrears with their PAYE who will be hardest hit.  HMRC will know very quickly if you are in arrears and are likely to chase earlier.  What is more  directors who have overdrawn directors accounts may not be able to reverse them easily into salary and PAYE.

If you need to talk to someone about how this might affect your company then talk to Keith Steven on 07833 240747

See his piece in the press about RTI or have a look at our RTI page on Company Rescue

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

2e2 in administration

Although not a household name like HMV the UK subsidiaries of IT firm 2e2 have gone into administration.  The impact will be felt widely as many companies rely on their products and there are likely to be thousands of creditors who were resellers of their services and who might now not get paid.

Founded in 2002, private equity-backed 2e2 swiftly built itself into a near £400m turnover IT reseller/integrator via a string of acquisitions including HP and Oracle partner Compel and, more recently, Morse for which it paid £70m for in 2010. It employs about 2,000 staff.

Earlier in the month the debt-stricken firm let go of its Chief Operations Director Mark McVeigh in favour of former Logica and Colt exec Maggy McClelland, and bringing in turnaround expert Lynn Mawdsley.  However, this has not prevented the appointment of administrators FTI as the business ran out of funding.

Joint administrator Simon Granger said: "We are working closely with management and other key stakeholders to ensure the continued provision of business critical services to the group's customer base.

“In parallel we are exploring strategic options for the UK business and have commenced a disposal process for the overseas subsidiaries,” he added.

If you are an employee then visit our facebook help page

In other news a string of smaller businesses have gone into administration in the few days.

Salford-based mechanical and electrical services contractor H Barnes Sons is in administration.

Manchester Airport ME firm BrownCo (Electrical Engineers) is also in administration

Whitequay Limited  which operates Seat, Skoda and Suzuki dealerships in the south of England, hit trouble last week, according to administrators.

Administration is not the only option open to businesses that are in financial difficulty although if the debt to the bank is unmanageable then it is often the bank that calls in the administrators.  If you have been paying back debt but are struggling with unsecured debts such as trade creditors or HMRC then it can pay to look at other options such as a CVA or a time to pay arrangement

Are zombie firms under threat from the banks ?

The Institute of Turnaround (IfT) has said that there are signs that the banks are looking to sell on their debt to the so called "Zombie Firms" as they are beginning to run out of patience.  This was in part illustrated by the collapse of HMV where the £176m of debt was sold onto Hilco.

The selling on of the debt is perhaps a good strategy in that the banks will start to get something back.  However, the IfT has warned that if these purchasers of the debt are not interested in the long term future of these businesses then many will close and thousands of jobs lost.

IfT chairman Iain MacRitchie warned a “zombie company massacre” could take place, particularly in the troubled specialist retail and consumer electronics sectors – which would leave even more empty spaces on UK high streets.

The presence of "zombie firms"( numbers have been estimated at between 75,000 and 160,000) has temporarily saved jobs – but many believe that they have has also prevented bad businesses from being killed off, capital from being reallocated to more productive uses and is cluttering up bank balance sheets.

Monday, 28 January 2013

KSA Group can help companies in Scotland. We are talking about how on the 19th February 2013

A winding up petition issued by a creditor against a Scottish company is an even more dangerous step than in England as there is no grace period after the petition and before the advertisement.

See this page on our new winding up petition website for details

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!

In fact we are at a seminar in Edinburgh talking about corporate turnaround in 2013.  If you would like to attend then please find out more on our KSA Seminars page

Derek Robinson is our Regional Manager in Scotland who will be there.

Derek has a wealth of business knowledge.  A creative and yet objective thinker, Derek understands very well the challenges of running a business and is keen to advise and help directors overcome challenging financial circumstances.  You can call him on 0771 476 5578 or 0131 242 0081

Friday, 25 January 2013

The UK economy contracted by 0.3% according to the ONS

The UK economy shrank in the last three months of 2012, further fuelling fears that the economy could re-enter recession.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the economy contracted 0.3% in the October to December quarter.  This is the first estimate of how the economy performed in the fourth quarter, and is subject to two further revisions.

Given the recent criticism of statistics of late many are now not believing the figures.  What is more these figures are frequently revised as mentioned above. They should just send out accurate figures in the first instance as it would save a lot of bother.   Unemployment has fallen, more people are in work and business confidence has held up reasonably well. What is more the insolvency statistics, despite the few recent retail collapses, are showing an improving picture.

The economy had grown by 0.9% in the previous quarter, boosted by the London 2012 Olympic Games.
For the whole year, growth was flat, the ONS said, adding that the "bumpy economy" was on a "sluggish trend". However, the general consensus is that the economy is flat with real wage rises running at low levels.

Manufacturing fell by 1.5% in the quarter, the services sector was flat, but construction output rose by 0.3%.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

KSA Liquidation Notices

Charrington Cellars Limited Creditors Liquidation Notice

Meeting of the Creditors of the above named Company will be held at The Great Western Hotel, Station Road, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN1 1DH on 8 February 2013 at 1.15 pm

See full notice

I.Q.L. Limited Creditors Voluntary Liquidation Notice

a Meeting of the Creditors of the above named Company will be held at The Hubworking Centre, 5 Wormwood Street, London, EC2M 1RQ on 15 February 2013 at 11.30 am

See full notice

The Savannah Partnership Limited s98 Liquidation Notice

Meeting of the Creditors of the above named Company will be held at The Hubworking Centre, 5 Wormwood Street, London, EC2M 1RQ on 15 February 2013 at 1.00 pm

See full notice below

Super Save Distribution Limited Creditors Voluntary Liquidation Notice

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 7 February 2013 at 4.00 pm

See full notice below

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

KSA Liquidation Notices - Prior and Partners | Esse UK Limited | RET UK Limited

Prior and Partners Limited Liquidation Notice

A meeting of the Creditors of the above named Company will be held at The Hubworking Centre, 5 Wormwood Street, London, EC2M 1RQ on 25 January 2013 at 10.30 am

See full notice below;

Esse UK Limited Liquidation Notice

A Meeting of the Creditors of the above named Company will be held at The Priory Rooms, Quaker Meeting House, 40 Bull Street, Birmingham, West Midlands, B4 6AF on 14 February 2013 at 12.00 pm

See Full notice below;

RET UK Limited Liquidation Notice

A Meeting of the Creditors of the above named Company will be held at The Great Western Hotel, Station Road, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN1 1DH on 8 February 2013 at 12.00 pm

For the full notice see below

For more information on the implications of liquidation then click on the link

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Hilco Buy HMV Debt

It has been announced that Hilco has bought all the £176m of debt of HMV.  This means that they now control the process and can seek a rescue.

More will follow..

Kilmarnock facing a winding up petition

Kilmarnock Football Club have until today to settle a £15,000 debt or face the threat of a winding up petition from one of its suppliers which could put the club into liquidation.

But Craig Stevenson, the Kilmarnock-based food wholesaler who is after the money owed to his firm, last night denied he was involved in a personal battle with Rugby Park chairman Michael Johnston.

However, the letter to the club was leaked over the weekend so some damage has already been done.

A legal letter sent to the club reads: “Our clients have consulted us in relation to an outstanding debt of £14,907.26. We understand that you do not dispute this debt.

“Our clients have asked us to communicate with you and confirm that in the event our clients have not been paid on or before noon on Tuesday 22nd January 2013, we have instructions to lodge a winding up Petition against your company. It would be our intention to appoint a Provisional Liquidator to your company on the afternoon of that day or soon thereafter.

“In the event that we require to lodge a winding up Petition it will be based on the apparent inability of your company to pay its debts as and when they fall due in terms of the Insolvency Act 1986. In the event that a winding up Petition is lodged then the terms of this letter will be founded upon.”

The club played down fears that there would be a winding up petition and said that it was business has usual.  £15,000 is not a big debt.  BUT in Scotland a winding up petition is very damaging.  This is because once one is issued then it is immediately advertised and the clubs bank may well freeze the account.  Of course football clubs have had winding up petitions issued against them before (Hearts) and have survived but that is mainly because there are often multiple sources of finance.

Our advice would be to pay it pronto!!

Monday, 21 January 2013

HMV will accept vouchers from Tuesday

So the HMV brand damage limitation exercise has begun now that the administrators Deloitte have said that they will now accept gift vouchers from this Tuesday having reviewed the financial situation.

As the gift voucher holders are unsecured creditors and the chain owes the bank £176m they would normally not be likely to receive any refund.  However, now that Hilco have appeared to be the front runner to buy the stores then customers will need to keep coming back. This is in contrast of course to Jessops that has closed all its stores.  HMV continues to trade and it would be in the best interest of creditors not to annoy a considerable number of potential customers.

An industry consortium of music labels and film studios, including Universal Music and Sony, are believed to favour Hilco, according to newspaper reports.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Corporate Turnaround and Restructuring: Explained, Illustrated and Debated

For the first TMA Scotland event in 2013 the meeting will be addressed by a lawyer, a funder and a turnaround professional, who - drawing on their considerable experience in the field of restructuring - will explain some of the options available to distressed companies in order to survive in the current tough economic conditions.

Date: Tues 19 Feb, 6pm
Venue: Gillespie Macandrew LLP, 5 Atholl Crescent, Edinburgh EH3 8EJ

Don't forget as we are sponsors of the event any guests of KSA Group can attend for free to this CPD qualifying event.  Anyone wishing to come along as a guest please contact

The speakers will illustrate their points using relevant case studies and the ensuing debate, during a chaired questions & answers session, will no doubt be a lively and thought provoking conclusion to the formal part of the evening.
The hosts and sponsors warmly invite all those present to continue their discussions, less formally, during the networking and hospitality time that will follow.

The evening with be Chaired by Symon Legge - Acasta Consulting (Scotland) Ltd and TMA (UK) Representative.
Symon is a Chartered Surveyor with 30 years experience in the Construction Industry; he has spent the last 20 years working on both commercial and development project delivery and also has extensive experience in representing Specialist Subcontractors.Symon LeggeAcasta

Symon's breadth of experience in having fulfilled the roles of Main Contractor's and Specialist Subcontractor's Quantity Surveyor, Private Quantity Surveyor, Project Manager, Employer's Agent and CDM Co-ordinator, and his extensive knowledge of the Scottish Construction Industry and involvement in dispute work, arbitration proceedings and debt recovery, gives him an unrivalled position in carrying out corporate recovery, due diligence and acting on development instructions.
Symon is a Director of the Acasta Scottish office, based in Edinburgh and which also takes commissions in the North of England."
Joining Symon will be Steven Jansch, Associate - Gillespie Macandrew LLP,Keith Steven, Founder & CEO - KSA Group Ltd andJames Waterson, Area Sales Manager - Close Asset Finance Ltd (Edinburgh)

Steven Jansch
Gillespie Macandrew

Steven Jansch is an Associate in Gillespie Macandrew's Litigation department. He is a solicitor advocate and has been accredited in commercial litigation by the WS Society. Steven has extensive experience of commercial litigation and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms at all levels.

Steven oversees our busy debt recovery team and has a wealth of knowledge of insolvency matters having acted for banks, creditors, and insolvency practitioners for almost 10 years. Steven is acclaimed by clients as being "highly commercial and extremely effective, particularly in court." Clients also commend Steven's ability to obtain appointments of liquidators provisionally as being "impressively quick", with top qualities listed as being "Great Results, Personable, Expert".

Keith Steven of KSA Group Ltd has been rescuing and turning-around companies since 1994; he has worked for insolvency firms, turnaround funds and venture capital investors. Keith formed his own turnaround practice, KSA Group Ltd in 2001, and he is acknowledged as an expert in the delivery of CVAs for SME companies faced with financial difficulties.Keith Steven
KSADrawing on case studies from 2012, Keith will illustrate the variety of ‘turnaround tools’ available to directors and advisors in order to effect a company rescue, including formal and informal procedures and creditor negotiations – including with HMRC. Many of the key skills of Keith and his company areavailable via the internet free of charge; he will impart his advice on being the ready for the future with similar magnanimity.
KSA Group is delighted to sponsor this evening’s event and is proud to be a Corporate Sponsor of TMA.

James Waterson has over 5 years of firsthand experience within the asset finance marketplace. Originally with a Clearing Bank he now plays a key role in the activities of Close Bros Asset Finance in Scotland, providing asset finance in restructuring situations and general refinance within SME, commercial and mid-corporate business across Scotland.James Waterson
Close Brothers looks to provide alternative funding packages tailored to specific business needs – always with a customer relationship focus – and provide specialist knowledge and innovative value-added solutions to Scottish business. Areas of activity include funding for renewable energy projects, with a focus on small to medium wind energy specifically for land / estate owners, farming, leisure and business communities.Close brothers
James’s own particular specialties include Corporate Real Estate Credit Analysis, Asset Finance & Structured Leasing as well as Compliance & Business Development.

Questions and Answers.
Time will be allocated for Q & A’s so as to facilitate a short debate on what has been presented.
Following this and the formal conclusion of the meeting, all attendees are warmly invited to continue their discussions during the networking and hospitality session. Food and drink will be provided by the event sponsors.

For a link directly to the TMA website where you can book.  Then click here

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Swindon Town could go into administration to reduce debts

Swindon Town Football Club could look at administration in order to reduce its debts thought to be in the region of £13m.  It has been reported that the owner, Andrew Black of Betfair, is unwilling to put in extra funds and is looking for a buyer or investor for the club.  In effect, money is very tight and they may have to try and trim their monthly playing budget of £250k.  Part of the problem was because the overspent on players and wages last season leading them to eventually breaking football rules and so incurring an embargo on transfers.  Having said that, they have been very successful and were champions in League one and on one measure the club is in the top 30 richest football clubs in England.

Swindon Town are likely to appoint accountants to restructure their finances and look at administration as an option if they are deemed to be insolvent.  Of course, the problem with administration for football clubs is they will suffer a 10 point deduction.

Owner Black was part of a consortium which took over Swindon in 2008. A board meeting has been called for Saturday, with several external parties understood to be interested in purchasing the club.

Why do football clubs get themselves in such a financial pickle?
Simply they are not operated as proper businesses and the constant change in clubs fortunes/owners and playing success means they do not tend to conform to normal business practices.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Blockbuster in administration

Blockbuster UK has called in the administrators in the third major collapse of a retailer this year following Jessops and HMV according to Sky News.

The company has 528 stores across the UK, and employs 4,190 people.

Deloitte's have been appointed joint administrator, and they said Blockbuster faced increasing competition from the internet and the shift to online streaming of movies and games.

Heard it before?

More to follow

Can HMV be saved?

The level of interest and emotion surrounding the collapse of HMV has been immense.  People are obviously      sorry for those staff whose jobs may be lost but the brand is the centre of attention and seems to have sparked off a wave of nostalgia. Celebrities, pop stars and businessmen have been bombarded on twitter begging them to save the brand!   The demise of the business itself has been long anticipated.  So what now?

The management are confident that a buyer has been found.  The chief executive, Trevor Moore, has said that there was a place for HMV on the high street and said he was “confident that we will find a solution”.  At least the business is still trading and all the 223 shops are still open.  Vouchers cannot be redeemed which is causing anger but this story has some way to go.   Endless, Hilco and Better Capital are all understood to be interested in the business.

The management have put in a brave effort to save the business over the last year and so it is not going to go down without a fight.

Monday, 14 January 2013

HMV has confirmed that it is to go into administration

Well, it has been on the cards for almost a year.  HMV has finally admitted that they cannot continue in the face of the competition from the Internet.  As such, they have  issued a statement saying that they will seek to appoint administrators on Tuesday with a view to sell the business.

They said;

"The Directors of the Company understand that it is the intention of the administrators, once appointed, to continue to trade whilst they seek a purchaser for the business."

"It is proposed that Nick Edwards, Neville Kahn and Rob Harding, partners of Deloitte LLP, will be appointed as the administrators of the Company and certain of its subsidiaries.

The shares were suspended today.  The news follows the company's announcement that it was launching a month long sale of its stock.  This was enough to start rumours that the business was heading for administration.

Almost 4000 jobs are under threat and the news follows recent casualties such as Comet and Jessops.  Again the common factor in most of the administrations of late is the Internet.  Sales have soared online and it seems no retailer can be complacent about the way shopping in the UK has changed

Ethel Austin in administration for fourth time in four years...

Yet again Ethel Austin has gone into administration.  This is the fourth time in four years and it was in administration some years before that.   The Liverpool based clothing retailer has faced fierce competition from Primark and Zara in the last few years

This is a brand/business that sounds like it needs to be laid to rest!  The last administration was in July 2012 when 48 stores were in the hands of the administrators.  30 of these stores were bought out of administration by entrepreneur, Mike Basso, who said he had been unable to keep the business afloat.

Mr Basso added that the company had been forced to act to protect creditors and that his involvement with the business had been very painful.

Back in 2008 the company had 300 stores employing 3000 staff when it went into administration.

If anyone is thinking of buying this brand....... Caveat emptor!

Jessops stores all closed down

All the Jessops stores have been shut down, as of the weekend, resulting in 1,400 job losses.  This has come very quickly after the business went into administration.  Administrators have set up a Jessops Group Limited helpline which can be reached on  0113 289 4422.

Why so quick when compared with Comet that held a closing down sale?  There could be a number of reasons.

Firstly, the administrators obligation is to make sure that the position of creditors is not made worse during the administration.  So if the prospect of selling everything very quickly was unlikely to bring in more money than would be spent on costs then it would be best to shut down immediately.  However, the most likely reason is that virtually all the equipment, being of high value and branded, was held in the store under "retention of title" or ROT.  I.e the £1000 camera was in effect owned by Canon until it was sold.  This would mean that all the stock would have been taken back by Canon, Nikon, etc the moment the administrators were called in.  This ROT clause is to ensure there is no aggressive discounting of their products while a business is trading and ensure that if the goods were not sold then they could take them back.

Nikon has moved to reassure customers that it is ‘actively working with administrators and plans to undertake all outstanding repairs as quickly as possible'.

In a statement, the firm added: ‘Nikon UK can confirm that we will also be honouring any repairs under Jessops' Photo + extended warranty scheme.' For details call 0330 123 0928

Friday, 11 January 2013

Aroca Pubs and Taverns Limited in Liquidation

Meeting of the Creditors of the above named Company will be held at Regus, 151 West George Street, Glasgow, G2 2JJ on 30 January 2013 at 11.15 am

See the full notice below;

RTI overhaul may tip companies over the edge

James Hurley, in the Telegraph, has written about how the new Real Time Information (RTI) System of paying PAYE over to HMRC will put pressure on struggling businesses.

KSA Group has been quoted "“At a time when businesses are already feeling the strain, the potential for quicker demands of additional payments could potentially push them over the edge.” Turnaround practitioner Keith Steven, of insolvency firm KSA Group, also warned that RTI could lead to more winding-up orders from HMRC.

“We’re aware of many companies that don’t tell HMRC what their PAYE deductions are, or that falsify them. They say, 'OK, it’s £50,000 this month, let’s say it’s £10,000’. They come clean at the end of the year and then ask for time to pay the tax. RTI could highlight a lot of cash-flow issues.”

Read the full article below;

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Jessops in administration today

Jessops has just announced that it is to go into administration.  Speculation was mounting after it revealed that it was to close 15 stores in 2013.  Last time the retailer came close to administration it was saved by HSBC doing a debt for equity swap and taking it off the stock market.

We blogged earlier this year  that Canon had pumped in £10m into the chain, which has 200 shops, to ensure that people could view their products prior to buying them online.

Jacobs, another camera retailer went into administration earlier.  It is no surprise that Jessops has felt the fierce competition from the Internet.

If you are an employee of Jessops and are worried then take a look at our help for employees pages.

Late VAT returns will lead to more scrutiny by HMRC

HMRC are continuing with their campaign of targeting certain groups of companies and individuals as a way of collecting the tax due.  They have announced, today, that from the 28th February 2013 any company that has not submitted one or more VAT returns will have their affairs closely scrutinized.  This is likely to be some 50,000 businesses.   These businesses are being given an opportunity to get up to date and pay the tax they owe by 28 February 2013.

Marian Wilson, Head of HMRC Campaigns, said: "If HMRC has sent you a VAT return and you have not yet taken any action, this campaign is a reminder to bring your tax affairs up to date. But time is running out.

"After 28 February, if they have not submitted their outstanding VAT returns and paid what they owe, HMRC will use its legal powers to pursue outstanding returns and any VAT that is unpaid. Penalties, or even criminal investigation, could follow."

Presumably if a business has not submitted a return, as they are worried they cannot afford it, are going to be hit hard if they miss the deadline.

If you think you cant pay VAT  and need extra time to pay, then we advise submitting your return prior to the 28th February with a part payment of what you can afford and then getting in touch with us.  We have enormous experience of dealing with HMRC and  can put together informal time to pay arrangements.  When we say "informal" we mean that there is no need to go into an insolvency mechanism such as a CVA or administration to get some extra leeway on the company debts.

This informal deal we call the Plan A approach.   Please see our website's following page for more information.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Salford Reds Winding Up Petition Hearing Adjourned

Today the Salford Reds had another reprieve when the winding up hearing was adjourned as the club hopes to find a buyer.

In reaction to the decision, a club statement read:  "This additional time has been granted following careful consideration of the current position regarding new investment into the business.
"All concerned parties agreed that there was a real possibility that a positive conclusion could be reached and that this would be preferable to the execution of the lodged winding-up petition."  Salford are in debt to the tune of £600k and Salford Council turned down a rescue attempt.

HMRC, who are thought to be owed around £300k along with some unpaid wages from players launched the winding up petition.

So how is it possible to adjourn a winding up petition?  Click on the link and go to our website.

We work closely with a lawyer who can act very quickly.  Call us for details.

Readers Digest to propose a CVA

John Moulton's Better Capital has withdrawn funding for Readers Digest UK Limited and has had to make 90 of its marketing staff redundant.

In an announcement to the Stock Exchange they said they have; "entered a period of restructuring via a proposed Company Voluntary Arrangement or CVA. 
The objective of the restructuring is to allow a smaller, profitable business based around the magazine to continue to trade whilst facilitating an exit from unprofitable direct marketing activities.  The proposed CVA process is expected to take some weeks to conclude."

Better Capital bought the business out of administration with a promise to return it back to its former glory however it was soon apparent that despite large cost cutting there was a bigger decline than expected in its sales of CDs,  DVDs and books.

Reader's Digest had around two million readers in its 1990s heyday, but its circulation has fallen to under 400,000 recently and many magazines are distributed for free.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Retail winners and losers

2012 saw an increase in retailers going into administration. The number of retailers falling into administration in 2012 increased by 6% compared with 2011, according to research from accountants Deloitte.  Larger chains suffered with Peacocks, La Senza, Blacks, Game, Clinton Cards, JJB Sports and Comet all entering administration.  However there was an improving picture in the last 3 months of the year according to the accountants.

It seems the principal problem is there are just too many shops with too many stores.  The usual pressures from dampened consumer spending and online sales of course still apply.  However it should be noted that some retailers are doing extremely well.  John Lewis, Next and Waitrose have all seen strong growth in the last few months with Waitrose having a record Christmas and Next seeing a rise in like for like sales of 4%.  

Any pick up in the economy will often make the strong and dynamic firms prosper at the expense of the weaker ones.  So despite improved economic conditions it is likely that competition will become fiercer and there will be an increased number of business needing help.

If your business is feeling under pressure then please call us on 01289 309431

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Real Time information could lead to more winding up petitions

All PAYE returns will have to be done online by October 2013 with many companies starting to do it from April 2013.

The biggest change is that all employers will have to file pay and tax details for their employees online when wages are paid – rather than at the end of the tax year. The way it currently works the HMRC only knows the true liabilities on the 19th of May following the end of the tax year when the P35 is filed.

Failure to file these returns online in "real time" will result in fines from £2000 for smaller businesses and much more for large businesses.  HMRC are likely to know about businesses that are late with payments at a very early stage and be more ready to issue winding up petitions.

Keith Steven has written in the  website where he points out that after the true liabilities are found some time later the HMRC has been more ready to allow a time to pay deal.  This is less likely to be the case in 2013.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

HMV in administration buyers sought for the business

update:  HMV have confirmed today that they are to appoint administrators and hope to sell the business.  This is a shame but not unexpected.  Please see my post before the news broke today 14/01/2013

If HMV had a very poor Christmas trading period then it is almost inevitable that the company will go into administration or try a company voluntary arrangement.

Online sales of downloaded music and videos have soared in recent months and only last month the company announced that it had seen a 10% decline in sales in the six months up to October and it was likely to breach its banking covenants early next year.

There have been unconfirmed reports that the store managers have been called into a meeting this week about the company's future and many expect the worse.  However, the company has previously said a year ago that it would not rule out a company voluntary arrangement to help its cashflow and allow it to continue to trade.  But if the banks positions is considerably worse now than it was then, which seems likely, then they may seek to appoint administrators.  A CVA only binds the unsecured creditors.  As experienced CVA experts if HMV would like to get in touch for a no obligation chat then we are more than happy to help them look at their options.

HMV's management have been making lots of changes to try and turn around the company with new store designs and product ranges and they have survived for longer than was expected in early 2012 despite massive debt of £176m.  They have sold off their live music business and extracted better terms from their suppliers in exchange for some equity.

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