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Company Insolvencies hit lowest rate for 30 months In January

Insolvencies hit lowest rate for 30 months

The rate of business failures fell to its lowest level in January this year since June 2007, figures from credit reference agency Experian have revealed.

Its monthly Insolvency Index found that the number of businesses going under in January 2010 dropped to seven in every 10,000 firms – or 0.07 per cent. This compares with 0.09 per cent in January 2009 and 0.06 per cent in June 2007.

The research found that firms with just one or two employees had the lowest rate of insolvencies, with just four out of every 10,000 firms failing in the first month of this year. Experian attributed this to the lower overheads associated with employing fewer staff.

“It’s encouraging to discover that not since the current financial crunch started have so few firms become insolvent in a single month,” said managing director of Experian firm pH, Rolf Hickmann. “While it’s too early to predict whether we are fully out of the woods, this does hint at an improvement in the health of UK businesses.”

We believe that this is largely a false picture. With hundreds of thousands of companies not paying PAYE and VAT on time and building up arrears it would be astonishing if insolvencies had risen !

Portsmouth Going into Administration

Portsmouth going into administration today. As predicted, the business will be placed into administration today after a failure to find a buyer daft enough to take on £70m of debts.

Will they be the only Premier League side to hit the buffers this year or will there be more?

Suits You Sir.

Suits You Sir! Close the stores you don't want!

Speciality Retail Group (SRG) received 98 per cent backing from landlords to a proposed company voluntary arrangement (CVA) for Suits You that will allow the retailer to pay a reduced rate for loss-making shops and close those that lose money.

We understadn that the CVA offered SRG’s landlords a 40 per cent reduction on rent at loss-making sites. Rent at the remaining stores will be paid on a monthly basis for 18 months.

With this CVA being mainly approved by landlords, it is another "bespoke" CVA looking to close dark stores.

KSA Group Sponsors Turnaround Finance Group Meeting

KSA Group also foots the drinks bill!

The first Thursday Turnaround Finance Group meeting is on 4th March 2010. The location for this event is The Wall, 45 Old Broad Street, London EC2N 1HU (the junction of Old Broad Street and London Wall). Drinks will be served from 6:30pm.

For those of you who have not previously attended, the aim of this event is to promote networking opportunities and deal flow amongst the Turnaround community. The MacDonald Partnership plc actively supports this group with people and resources.

Louise Moiseef and Libby Aird-Brown work very hard to drive this group along. Last month's was very well attended and we found it useful for networking and indeed making new contacts.

In the past new contacts have introduced us to work, so that's a MAJOR benefit for attending in my view!

If you wish to attend this event please confirm by email to Louise_Moiseeff@tmp.co.uk or alternatively if you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact Louise on 020 7496 1014.

What is Statement of Insolvency Practice 16, What does it mean for Pre-Pack Administrations?

What is Statement of Insolvency Practice 16 (SIP 16)?

SIPS are rules for insolvency practitioners to follow when working on insolvency cases. If they fail to abide these rules they can be fined or even lose their practice licence. So they're taken very seriously by the profession!

Every pre-pack administration (PPA) is being carefully scrutinised by the Insolvency Service after bad press and complaints from creditors that PPA does not maximise their interests. A common complaint is "How can it be fair that directors simply start again with the same business, the same name and no debt"?

So SIP 16 sets out the rules that must be used for PPA's.

The Insolvency Service has issued a statement saying it will use Statement of Insolvency Practice 16 to monitor pre-packs. The SIP requires the administrator to report to creditors on their actions as follows.

For more details please click here to go to our new guide page


Pompey Given 7 Days; Cardiff & Southend Given 28 days to come up with tax cash

Another sign that HMRC and Courts prepared to give some time to creditors, the winding up petitions against Cardiff City, Portsmouth and Southend football clubs were adjourned for 28 days by the Court today.

Too big to fail? Too high profile to be wound up? Or just a desperate plea to try and gain time to raise money sufficent to be acceptable to HMRC/ Court?

You decide.

From the BBC article today: "Court registrar Christine Derrett (when referring to Portsmouth) said she feared the company would continue to trade and build up more debts that would not be paid.

"I am very concerned about the financial status of this company," she said. "It seems to me there's a very real risk that this company is undoubtedly trading while it is insolvent.

Gregory Mitchell QC, who represented HMRC, said: "It's quite clear, beyond any doubt at all, that this company is insolvent".

If you were a director of Portsmouth you would surely want to be VERY SURE that new money was available to meet the ongoing liabilities?

Banks not lending enough: So go ASK!

Lloyds and RBS are failing to lend:

MPs said the banks' lending record had caused "widespread dismay"
Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group have been criticised by a committee of MPs for failing to lend enough to homeowners and businesses.

In reply to the accusation "Lloyds spokesman Stephen Pegge admitted it was "unlikely" that targets for business lending would be met, saying that there was insufficient demand from companies.

"We are still saying yes to 80% of businesses who want to borrow, but there will be some businesses that it will be difficult to provide that extra finance for," he said.

"We are growing our business lending faster than the rest of the market, but it's subject to demand, and that demand has been limited."

So the message seems clear, in advance of the recovery make sure you have ASKED the bank for support. It is no use blaming them for not lending to your company, if your business has not asked!

Obviously, you will need a solid business plan and a good lending case.

Week of Reckoning for Portsmouth Football Club?

On Wednesday the High Court will hold a petition hearing for the winding up of Portsmouth.

I believe unless a substantial payment is made this week to HMRC, then it is likely HMRC will press for the company to be wound up.
What options do directors have when faced with a winding up petition?  See our guide page here to the options, rules and dos and dont's for directors. 

Other than pay up, there are only a few other options. There may still be time to propose a Company Voluntary Arrangement. Other options include taking legal advice on defending the petition (if is not an agreed debt for instance).

If the business IS VIABLE and has a good future then administration is a very powerful means to defined the company against the petition. Administration will “stay” (or postpone) the winding up petition and prevent a winding up order being made and any other legal action (except with leave of court).

The administrator may propose a Company Voluntary Arrangement to protect the business and allow a repayment of debts for up to 5 years. Or it may be sold to a new company or buyers (including directors). 

So, these options will be carefully considered, I am sure, by the directors of Portsmouth in the 48 hours left before a hearing, that could lead to the first compulsory liquidation of a Premier League football club.

My guess? Administration will be chosen, with a view to selling the club/assets/players.

Insolvency Stats show mixed market Performance

The Q4 insolvency stats are released today.

They show a 58% FALL in the number of Administrations year on year (v 2008) to 849 appointments.

Conversely, Company Voluntary Arrangements are well UP on 2008 - 47% up to 219 appointments.

This is a very interesting set of numbers, CVAs are obviously being used more than in the past but still only amount to a quarter of the number of administrations. So 2009 saw 726 CVAs approved, historically that's a high number. We would expect to see up to 1,000 CVAs in 2010.

The stats dont break this out, but we wonder if pre-pack administrations are being ignored and CVA's being considered a better option in some cases?

Interesting too to note that creditors voluntary liquidations were only up 5.7% year on year. In Q4 there were 3,228 CVLs versus 3,055.

Not a busy insolvency or recovery market, is the best summary we can think of.


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