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Winding up petition against Leeds United is withdrawn

At the beginning of the month, we reported Enterprise Insurance (shirt sponsors) had issued a winding up petition (WUP) against Leeds United during a heated buy-out bid for the popular club (see the news piece here).

It's now been revealed that the WUP has been withdrawn by owner of Enterprise, Andrew Flowers, after £1.2 million of debt was paid in full.

Owners of  Leeds United, GFH Capital, have promised the club will not go into administration under their watch.

SME manufacturers look to invest £121,000 on average to meet demand

A survey from the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) revealed 86% of small manufacturers want to invest in capital equipment over the next year, showing business investment is certainly on the increase.

Surveying over 850 companies, the government supported service showed manufacturers are looking to invest £121,000 on average to improve IT systems, premises, plant and machinery. Many are looking to expand businesses by spending thousands on new production lines in order to keep up with competitors and find a firm footing in the industry.

The Bank of England is predicting an increase in investment of 11.5% this year. In 2003, there was a fall of 3.25%. With overall confidence improving, investing in new systems and recruiting are the next steps for innovation and new business. According to the MAS barometer, 62% of companies reported a rise in sales in the last six months with 76% of small manufacturers expecting an increase over the next six months of 2014.

Head of MAS and Area Director, Steven Barr, said “There is a definite feel good factor around English manufacturing at the moment and these latest figures reinforce positive reports from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) together with encouraging Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) data.”

“Investment is crucial if we going to take advantage of reshoring and predicted growth in markets such as offshore wind, renewables and carbon vehicles”.

Interestingly, only 19% of companies are planning to apply for funding through banks, with the majority of SMEs hoping for grants and funding from the Regional Growth Fund. This indicates there is becoming wider support available for small businesses, something which is reflected across the whole SME sector, as more and more alternative lenders, like crowdfunders and peer-to-peer lenders are coming onto the market.

Employment in the manufacturing industry is also improving year on year, with the latest figures showing more than half of companies are expecting to take on new staff over the next few months. One of the reasons for this could be companies looking to employ staff with different skill sets.

Steven said, “Our expert MAS Advisors are working with companies on their long-term strategies and skills is one of the biggest issues they are facing. We can help with planning recruitment policies and embedding skills, not to mention referring them to other relevant business support services.”

Internacionale at threat of administration

Internacionale is likely to fall in administration this week as reports have revealed the fashion retailer has only a short amount of time to find a buyer. All 1,500 jobs are at risk with 97 stores close to being shut down.

Rapidly falling sales year on year and mounting debt has led the retailer to take on restructuring firm, FC Fund Managers to buy £35 million of debt. 20 people have already been made redundant in the move, leaving the fate of the company in the hands of administrators (expected to be PwC) later this week.

Internacionale was rescued out of administration last July by former managers and directors of the company in a pre-pack deal. However, despite attempting a turnaround since 2011, the business has reportedly reached the end of the line with its future very much hanging in the balance.

Like many other high street retailers, years of tough trading conditions in the retail sector has resulted in the company losing a staggering £10 million year on year.

If Internacionale doesn't find a buyer soon, it may well join the group of high street shops, like Games, HMV and Comet, that are failing to keep up with their online competitors.

We are not involved in the administration and questions should be directed to PwC who are expected to be handling the administration.

If you are an employee of the business, and you're worried about what might happen in the future, then please listen to the video below as it will tell you your rights as an employee of a insolvent business.  There is a link at the end of the video to the Government website which expands further on what you need to know.

What's happening to the UK economy?

Amazing what a difference a year makes!  Not long ago we were talking about a triple-dip recession. A couple of months ago the economy was showing signs of strong growth.  Unemployment has been falling rapidly  towards 7%.  This has embarrassed the Bank of England a little, given they were predicting that target to be reached in 2015.  The pound has surged against a basket of currencies which has helped reduce inflationary pressures. Inflation is now at 1.9%, the first time it has dropped to the desired levels for years. Mark Carney no longer needs to write those letters to the Chancellor explaining why he has failed to hit the target.  So all is rosy??

There are some other strange goings on in the economy.  The productivity conundrum is where we are making less per employee than before.  This has meant that there is still spare capacity in the economy and little upward pressure on wages.  Until companies invest more and worker productivity increases, interest rate rises are probably still some way off.   However, with the election next year, some feel good levers might need to be pulled!

The fiscal surplus has increased less than expected as corporation taxes have been  lower and the latest statistics from the retail consortium has shown an unexpected fall in retail sales.

Did anyone see Robert Peston's programme on China?  I watched it last night and there could be an accident waiting to happen there with consequences for the whole global economy.  The country has embarked on a huge explosion of credit with house prices rising 20% a year and huge infrastructure projects going ahead.  Will it all end in tears? Who knows?

Never before has a command economy created a banking system the size of the US in just 5 years....

The markets appear to be relaxed about the China's "shadow banking" sector, credit explosion and corruption so we shouldn't be worried either.  Or should we?

KSA's advice corner

We have a new section on the website dedicated to showing snippets of individual advice we give to clients and visitors enquiring about insolvency and financial issues.

Some examples may be of help if your company or business is in a similar situation and you're unsure what's the next best step.

Why not have a browse? www.companyrescue.co.uk/advice-corner

Alternatively, you can call us on 0800 9700539 or email us directly at help@ksagroup.co.uk for advice on a specific issue.

Is your company in financial trouble?

If your company is struggling financially, consider all the options available. See our new page on the Company Rescue website for tips and advice on what to do next:


More SME lenders than ever

The number of SME lenders reached 91 in 2013, up from just 46 in 2009. Figures from the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB) show there were 8 more lenders last year than in 2012.

Chief Executive, Adam Tyler, said to The Times, “Many SMEs don’t know these options exist. There is still a widespread perception that high street banks are the only source of funding for small businesses and, as a result, many SMEs who are ready to expand are missing out on the opportunity”.

Worryingly, it’s been reported by Rebuilding Society that many small business owners use their own personal credit cards and borrow from friends and family to get the extra cash. Some have even remortgaged their home to raise capital.

As reported, there are a wide range of lenders, crowdfunders and peer-to-peer lenders in the UK ready to help SMEs raise the cash they need. Some of these include, Funding Circle, Everline, Crowdcube and Boost Capital. Peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding platforms are growing fast globally as they are an easy and attractive way to find investors for business projects.

If you are in debt and need to raise some funds to refinance your business, see our page on debt finance for companies.

Insolvency Statistics show fall in liquidations and CVAs

Given the state of the economy this is not surprising.  

Overall liquidations are down 7% but the main driver of this fall is in compulsory liquidations that is down 23% YoY and 25% down on the last quarter.  Overall there has been a fall in the number of winding up petitions being issued which now stand at the lowest levels since pre-recessionary times. Given that HMRC issue some 60% of petitioners this shows that they are continuing their soft approach.  See the graph below.  We do not have precise figures for the whole of each quarter but in 2012 the levels of petitions were between 1800 and 2100 per quarter. ie the months that we measured were consistently between 600-700 per month.

The level of administrations has  risen 10%  compared to last quarter but these still remain at low levels. CVAs are down and this may be because of the more aggressive attitude of the banks in protecting their lend now that there is a bit more of a market for business assets?

Table II. Other Corporate Insolvencies in England and Wales (not seasonally adjusted) 1

% change –
2013 Q4 on

2012 Q4
2013 Q1
2013 Q2
2013 Q3
2013 Q4 p
2012 Q4
Company voluntary arrangements3

Table I. Company Liquidations in England and Wales (seasonally adjusted) 1

% change –  
2013 Q4 on

2012 Q4
2013 Q1 r
2013 Q2 r
2013 Q3 r
2013 Q4 p
2013 Q3
2012 Q4
Company Liquidations
of which:

Creditors’ Voluntary2
Source: Insolvency Service and Companies House

Winding up petitions

2012 Q4
2013 Q1 r
2013 Q2 r
2013 Q3 r
2013 Q4 p

Winding up petitions since 2013


We have measured the number of winding up petitions issued in January 2014 and these are back up to 2012 figures with 703 advertised.  Is this showing that HMRC are looking at being more aggressive in collecting tax than they were last year?  Time will tell.

Bad weather affecting businesses in the South West

It’s been increasingly difficult for businesses over the last month in the South West, with bad storms and flooding destroying power and transport links all over. Small businesses are going to be hit hard with the knock on effect, especially the tourism and leisure sectors.

The power is out for many homes and businesses across the region and transport links have been cut off from the South and South East in Devon. At one point 44,000 customers of Western Power were left without electricity.

Chair of Local Enterprise Partnership for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, Chris Pomfret, stressed that 22,000 businesses in Cornwall need transport links to trade to reach their suppliers and customers. He told BBC Radio 4, “It is essential for business owners to be able to travel to London and hub airports such as Gatwick to maintain the international side of their work”.

Managing Director of St Austell Brewery, James Staughton, also told the radio channel, “business needs certainty and it needs certain transport infrastructure to be able to thrive and survive”.

Network Rail and the Government need to take a good look at the transport links to Cornwall and Devon so future problems like this won’t happen.  Pomfret kept the situation positive in the discussion on BBC Radio 4, saying, “We are very resilient and we are very open for business and I’m sure we will find a way around it.”

We can hope the weather improves and future successful summer trading outweighs the miserable winter we’ve had so far. Whilst the weather is out of our control, you may be able to find financial support from the local authority. Creditors may also be supportive of the situation so it’s best to stay in touch and keep them updated on what’s going on.

If the bad weather is setting your business back, you can talk to us free of charge and use our website to look at ways to cut costs or improve cashflow. You can use our free cashflow template.

If debts have built up too much, it may be worth considering talking to us at Company Rescue. If the business is viable, formal, or informal deals, with creditors can allow you to spread debt payments over a year or more and can protect you against any legal actions.

Advice from Cornwall's Council:
Help for businesses affected by flooding - http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=33000

Why do profitable firms become insolvent?

Great video by MoneyWeek from two years or so back but it is still very much relevant. Tim Bennett explains in simple terms how a 'profitable' company can run out of cash and become insolvent, as well as how overtrading affects working capital.  Although it is made with an investor in mind, it very useful information for directors to identify the warning signs themselves before it's too late.


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