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Advice if you supply a business that has gone into administration

14th April, 2020

Written ByWayne Harrison

Director and Licensed Insolvency Practitioner


07879 555349

Wayne works with business owners and their stakeholders across all businesses from SMEs to large companies. Primarily focussed on helping businesses to restructure and survive he also has extensive experience of liquidations and administrations in every sector. He has overseen the successful sale of London and Birmingham based law firms, has handled the administration of several haulage firms and worked extensively with a National food retailer to ensure its supply chain was not disrupted when a key delivery haulage contractor entered administration.

Wayne Harrison
  • We are a supplier to a company that has gone into administration, What should we do?

We are a supplier to a company that has gone into administration, What should we do?

How can you avoid getting stuck?

  1. Firstly, you need to get to know your industry. There are often tell tale signs that a business is in difficulty apart from just starting to pay late. Please see our list of warning signs of a business that is in distress. Of course, these are from the company in difficulty point of view but it should give you useful pointers. So be ahead of the news.
  2. Make sure that you know all the excuses about slow or non payment – the aim is to get paid and keep your own cash flow going.
  3. But what if the debtor has gone into administration. You need to know the law and your rights as a supplier. You have a contract with ABC LTD and on 21st December 2019, ABC LTD goes into administration, You are owed all monies up until 21st May. However of course you may not receive much of it. You must be able to provide proof of debt so make sure you have invoices to hand. The administrator should contact all creditors to inform them of the administration and inform them of a creditors meeting. Make sure you attend the meeting if you can, or get someone to attend for you.
  4. Do not supply or give credit to ABC LTD, if you continue to supply credit to this company there is a good chance you wont get paid because that company on paper does not trade anymore.
  5. Speak to the management (if a new management company has been set up), the administrators, your contacts. You need to be sure you are happy to continue to trade with the new business (out of administration) . You will need to agree new terms ie, reduced credit, a DD mandate, payment up front, (pro forma) whatever you are comfortable with and you will need to get the name of the new company. In a pre-pack sale where the business is put into administration and immediately sold, it may of course be trading under a different but similar name the very next day such as ABC Ltd. This is what is called a trading administration prior to a sale. If you are asked to supply the administrator (who is running the business) ask for payment up front or a guarantee from the ADMINISTRATOR that your business will be paid.
  6. Set up a new agreement but be careful who signs it, it can be signed by the following people

a) ABC (IN ADMINISTRATION) LTD, co-signed by the administrators

b) The administrators themselves

c) The new management company, appointed by the administrators.

The debt owed to you by ABC (IN ADMINISTRATION) LTD and ABC LTD are two separate things. The main purpose of administration is to rescue the company so it is often important that all suppliers continue to supply for the good of everyone.

What if the business is sold via a pre-pack to a newco and that company with the same management asks your company to supply it?

If the business is sold then this could be an opportunity to supply a new and perhaps more lucrative customer! but again make sure that you get the best terms possible. Pro forma is usually the best way to supply until there is a track record of being paid. Then provide say 7 days credit over time. Once again make sure a tight rein is kept on the credit.

If the administration of a large customer puts you under pressure then there is no harm in giving us a call and we will give you free no obligation advice over the phone.

Man with balloon

What Does Going Into Administration Mean?

Going into administration is when a company becomes insolvent and is put under the control of Licensed Insolvency Practitioners.  The directors and the secured lenders can appoint administrators through a court process in order to protect the company and their position as much as possible. Going Into Administration - A Simple Guide Administration is a very powerful process for gaining control when a company has serious cashflow problems, is insolvent and facing serious threats from creditors. The Court may appoint a licensed insolvency practitioner as administrator. This places a moratorium around the company and stops all legal actions.The administration must have a purpose and the Government encourages the use of company rescue mechanisms after administration. The 3 purposes (or objectives) of Administration Rescuing the company as a going concern. (Note: this purpose is to rescue the Company as opposed to rescuing the business undertaken by the Company.)Company rescue as a going concern – this is usually a  company voluntary arrangement. The company enters protective administration and is then restructured before entering into a CVA. The CVA would set out proposals for repayment of debts to secured, preferential and unsecured creditors. When the company has its CVA approved by creditors, then the administration process comes to an end after 28 days. Achieving a better result for the company's creditors This is as a whole than would be likely if the company was to be wound up (liquidation) See the differences between Administration and Liquidation.  This better result is usually obtained by selling the BUSINESS as a going concern to one or more buyers. The company and the debts are “left behind”. The better result may include securing transfer or employees under TUPE, as well as selling goodwill, intellectual property and assets. Controlling and then selling property/debtors. This is called realising assets. Then the administrator makes a distribution to one or more secured or preferential creditors, in order of creditors priority. Usually the business ceases trading and employees are made redundant.Only if the first two options are deemed unattainable, can the administrator use this third option.Under the administration option, it is possible for the company and its directors (or a creditor like the bank) to apply to the court to put the company into administration through a streamlined process.However, the law requires that any finance provider (like a bank or lender), with the appropriate security, is contacted and the aims of the administration be discussed and approved. The finance provider must have a fixed and floating charge (usually under a debenture) and the charge holder will need to give permission for the process to go ahead. Five days clear notice is required.  Be aware, though, that a secured lender can appoint administrators over a company without notice if it thinks its money is at risk.  So communication with the secured lender is essential. How long does going into administration last? It depends very much on the circumstances.  The administrators take on the employment contracts of the company after 14 days so it is desirable that the business is sold out of administration before that date.  The insolvency practitioners are not allowed to run the business at a loss and so making the creditors position worse off.   If there are large amounts of money to collect in or substantial realiseable assets then they may trade for longer periods.  During this time they will need to report to the creditors at regular intervals.Who gets paid first if a business goes into administration? What is a pre-pack administration or administration pre-pack sale? The pre packaged administration sale used to be a very popular method of rescuing a business. However, there has been much media coverage of creditors' dismay at seeing their "debt dumped" by a former customer. In response there is now much increased regulation. How does it work? The company prepares itself to enter administration and sell its assets to a new company ("newco") or to an existing 3rd party company. This is a very powerful, far reaching process that can protect the BUSINESS and be a form of business rescue, however usually the old company (oldco) is liquidated afterwards. See our guide on Pre Pack Administration for more information. Alternatively call Keith Steven on 07974 086779 to discuss how a pre-pack administration may or may not work for your company? Alternatives to Administration As the principal purpose of administration is to rescue the business, the main alternatives are: Refinancing The shareholders, wanting to protect their investment, might be persuaded to provide further loans, equity or investment to the company to avoid administration, or new lending/refinancing/debt products may be required. Of course, raising new capital in the current markets may be extremely difficult, especially if the business cannot, over time, be returned to profitability and without fundamental changes. A Company Voluntary Arrangement A company voluntary arrangement or CVA for short is a legally binding agreement with your company’s creditors which allows a proportion of its preferential (HMRC) and unsecured debts to be paid back over time.The CVA period can be 6 months to 5-6 years. Once prepared the CVA proposal is put to all creditors and 75% of the preferential and unsecured creditors, by value, must vote in favour to ensure a successful approval of this voluntary scheme. It is hugely powerful too, for restructuring costs, reducing employment numbers, reducing overhead costs and improving cashflow. Once the proposal has been approved then all HMRC and unsecured creditors are bound by the arrangement. The company can carry on trading as usual, and the directors remain in control. Shareholders are not diluted and do not lose ownership. CVA can be a powerful alternative to administration and the process leaves the directors in control. Got questions on administration versus CVA and how each may work for your business? Speak to us free of charge now 0800 9700539 What is administration followed by CVA? Basically the company enters administration to get protection from creditors. The administrator then works with the company's directors to produce his/her administration proposals. Once these are accepted the administrator hands control back to the company's board using a CVA. This is powerful tool despite the fact that it is expensive and directors are not in control during the administration period.  If you want to read more about the process then please see this page hereGot questions? For answers to all these questions read our guides or call us now on 08009700539. Our trained, high quality advisors will help you. 

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What Does Going Into Administration Mean?

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