What were the main business stories this month?
When asked to explain his Theory of Relativity by his secretary he explained it like this: “When you sit with a nice girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But when you sit on a hot stove for a minute, it feels longer than any hour. That’s relativity.”
So while *January 2022 had the same number of seconds, minutes, hours, days and weeks as every other January there’s ever been – a combination of factors have made it feel longer than ever.
A similar thing happens with all the January business and insolvency stories that we collect and summarise for our readers.
Because we pay so much attention to them and other developments, we assume that everybody else does too – but this isn’t the case.
Which is a better explanation of why we do it.
Because our readers have their own companies to run and jobs to do, they do want to know who’s gone into administration; which businesses have entered liquidation and who’s been able to successfully restructure their debts with a CVA.
But they know they can catch up on our monthly summary right here knowing that if they’ve missed it, they’ve always got a second chance to catch up right here!
You Are Home
You Are Home – the luxury serviced apartments which provided the accomodation for contestants in Channel 4’s “The Circle” along with production crews for other shows including Coronation Street has gone into liquidation with the loss of 25 jobs.
The company founded in 2019 owned four sites in Manchester, Liverpool and MediaCity in Salford.
MD David Cahill said: “I’m sad to say that unfortunately YAH shut its doors and went into liquidation. Thank you to everyone who was part of the journey. Whilst it didn’t work in the end, we had a brilliant run in some of the most challenging times in the travel industry!”
He added that the firm, which also provided accommodation for business travellers, said the market didn’t return in 2021 as much as was needed for the company to continue and while it was slowly but surely improving towards the end of the year, it had not returned enough by December.
My Pasta Bar
The pasta restaurant chain owned by celebrity chef Gino D’Acampo has gone into liquidation with liabilities of over £5 million owed to creditors.
Opened in 2013 with a theme of self service based on Italian street food, the firm had three London locations when it closed along with all positions made redundant. None of Mr D’Acampo’s other restaurants or businesses are affected by the closures.
Corbin & King Restaurants
The owner of several high-end London restaurants including the Wolseley and the Delaunay has fallen into administration after trade was devastated by the pandemic.
Corbin & King was accused by its largest shareholder of failing to meet its financial obligations which holds a 74% stake in the company and says that the business was no longer solvent and in default on its obligations.
Minor International are also the groups largest lender and provided Corbin & King with £38 million in loans and loan guarantees which it says have been in default since May 2020
A spokesperson for Minor International said the company had rejected offers to put the company on a stronger financial standing and they had “no choice” but to put the business into administration.
They confirmed they had been unable to agree on a commercial strategy and reiterated that they saw administration as a way of safeguarding the long term viability of the business and said it was committed to supporting the group’s staff and preserving the firm’s brands.
Gieves and Hawkes
The Chinese parent company that owned the iconic 250 year old men’s tailor Gieves & Hawkes has been put into liquidation following an attempt to sell to new owners.
Other brands owned by owners Shandong Ruyi include Kent & Curwen which had an advertising deal with David Beckham and brands such as Aquascutum and Cerutti. They have called in liquidators after failing to find buyers either in China or the UK.
One of the advertising agencies in Wales have gone into administration after being unable to “find a path to viability” since the pandemic.
S3 Advertising were based in the capital city of Cardiff and had big name clients include S4C, Deliveroo, Iceland Food Warehouse and Public Health Wales. They employed 30 people at the time of the administration.
A spokesperson said: “It is with a heavy heart that we must announce that Studio Tri Ltd, trading as S3 Advertising, has formally entered administration.
“Despite a crazy talented team, supportive client base and ever-growing standards of work, the business has unfortunately not been able to find a path to viability since the pandemic.
“Thank you so much to all the clients and suppliers who we’ve worked with over the years – we are truly sorry to have let everyone down. Above all, we want to say the most almighty thank you to each member of team S3.”
The business had been operating for over a decade before a management buyout in 2019.
Viola Money, an electronic digital payments firm based in Chesterfield has entered special administration following a court order under the Payment and Electronic Money Institution Insolvency Regulations 2021 brought by the FCA.
This is the first administration brought under the new legislation which includes provisions to facilitate the return of customer monies by the administrators whose priority will be to gather the assets of the company and those it safeguarded on behalf of its customers before distributing funds to creditors as quickly as possible.
The owners of Midas Construction suffered their first loss in over 40 years this month before going into administration it was revealed.
One of the largest private employers in the South West, the Exeter based construction company employed nearly 500 staff who will be surprised by the speed of the decision.
All the companies in the Midas Group including its housing division Mi-Space are affected.
In 2021, it recorded an official £2 million loss which was its first deficit in 40 years of trading.
Midas was working on several high profile projects throughout the region in Cornwall, Exeter, Bristol and beyond into Newport in South Wales and Southampton.
A statement from the company said: “The company continues to operate while the directors work to explore all available options to achieve the best outcome for the business and our people, our customers, supply chain partners and all our stakeholders.
“Midas is committed to pursuing an outcome that will achieve continuity for our live contracts and asks all our valued stakeholders to remain supportive of the group at this time.”
Hull-based PDR construction has ceased all trading operations and gone into administration leaving 14 ongoing projects unfinished and the loss of 115 positions.
A spokesperson said: “The company has experienced challenging market conditions including the timely delivery of a number of recent projects, resource issues within the sector principally as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and contractual disputes with private clients including a recent significant lost adjudication.
“New work opportunities have been delayed as a result of the uncertainty in the economic and political environment causing a significant fall in turnover. The company had fallen behind with payments to its creditors and subcontractor supply chain, culminating in a winding up petition being served on the company on January 4th.
Iain Potter Construction and Chas Smith Group
South Lanarkshire based Iain Potter construction has gone into liquidation with the loss of 33 positions.
Previously working on a range of sectors including health, education and housing as well as private commercial and industrial clients, the business found itself “in a severely constrained cash flow position” which amid rising labour and raw material costs also saw “increasing overheads and certain contractual difficulties.”
A spokesperson for the administrators said: “The collapse of IPC is another worrying sign of the challenges presently facing the Scottish construction sector and, particularly, subcontractors. IPC was a well-known contractor and its insolvency will, unfortunately, not be the last we will see in the early months of 2022.”
Similarly the Chas Smith Group, a 99-year-old shopfitting business specialising in the auto trade has filed for administration with the loss of nine permanent positions in Glasgow and North London.
A spokesperson said: “The business has unfortunately been severely affected by the pandemic, with a number of projects cancelled or suspended, coupled with increased labour and raw material costs.
“These challenges have resulted in significant cash flow difficulties – despite every effort by its directors to keep the business trading, the severe financial problems meant the company was not viable.
“We will be working closely with the Redundancy Payments Service and other agencies to minimise the impact on the staff and are exploring a sale of the business and assets either in whole or in part as quickly as possible.”
Together Energy which also owns Bristol Energy has become the 27th energy supplier to close in the past six months.
The business was part-owned by Warrington borough council and Ofgem confirmed that it would appoint a new supplier for the 176,000 customers affected by the move.
The council could be liable for £52 million in equity, loans and guarantees to the company which it invested into in 2019 with the aim of earning a return on budget holes caused by central government cuts to local authority budgets.
A spokesperson for the council said it was “disappointed” that Together Energy was ceasing to trade due to the current energy crisis.
An organisation that described itself as “Europe’s leading impact investment bank” has closed its doors and gone into administration.
ClearlySo raised capital and advisory services for enterprises and funds and facilitated deals between investors and enterprises looking for investment.
The company ultimately raised more than £450 million for clients since being formed in 2012 although they managed no active assets themselves.
ClearlySo’s former CEO who left in March 2021 Rod Schwarz said the team could feel quite proud of its achievements in the past 13 years but added “to everything there is a season.”
Bolton based M&A Pharmachem that manufactures and sells paracetamol and opiate medicines has gone into administration with the loss of 80 positions.
Directors had continued to look for investment so it might be able to continue to operate as a going concern but given the financial challenges and difficult environment, the effort ceased and administrators will now look to sell the business’ assets including stock, property and intellectual property.
A spokesperson said: “M&A was a significant employer in the local area but without urgent investment the business was unable to continue and had to close. We are working with all staff to support them and help impacted staff in their claims.”
Precision engineering firm First Component based in Brierley Hill has gone into administration and is seeking a buyer.
Founded over 18 years ago in the West Midlands, the company provided a range of sectors including medical and aerospace.
All 56 employees have been made redundant and trading has been suspended as a result of the current financial position.
While a buyer is being sought, administrators would look to maximise returns from the business; assets if one couldn’t be found.
Big Home Shop and Physioroom
Two online retailers based in Padiham have been put into administration with 12 positions being made redundant as a result.
Big Home Shop sold garden furniture and outdoor equipment while Physioroom sold home exercise, recovery and injury prevention equipment.
A spokesperson said that Big Home Shop had recently experienced financial challenges caused by stock issues related to international shipping delays. This had resulted in a large funding requirement the company was unable to meet.
Physioroom was reliant on Big Home Shop for a number of services so that company was also unable to fund ongoing trade as a result.
One month down, 11 to go
While time might have seemed to have slowed to a crawl in the past four weeks, it will start to speed up.
Before we know it, it will be Spring and a quarter of the year will have gone – valuable time that any business owner concerned about their company could use to their advantage if they act sooner rather than later.
We offer a free, virtual consultation with an experienced, expert advisor at a convenient time for any owner or director that wants their story to be heard and explain, in detail, what issues they’re facing.
Once they have a better idea of your situation, they can explore possible solutions with you to improve things in the short, medium and longer terms – but only if you take the first step and get in touch while you’ve still got the time to act.