What stories did you miss between March 6th and 10th?
We know you love our monthly round up of all the business and insolvency news stories you might have missed over the proceeding 30 or so days.
But there is so much news to keep up with that it’s a little impractical to save it all for one long bulletin at the end of the month.
Before we start looking ahead however, let’s take one last chance to catch up with all the rest of the business and insolvency stories from the month that you might have missed.
Recharge Industries, an Australian firm backed by an American based investment fund, have bought BritishVolt out of administration as the Northumberland gigafactory project entered the process in January.
200 positions were lost at the time but the new owners plan to build a factory on the site but with a different vision – looking at creating energy storage batteries rather than producing 300,000 batteries a year for electric vehicles.
Recharge founder David Collard said: “Backed by our global supply chain, strategic delivery partners and a number of significant customer agreements already in place, we’re confident of making the Gigafactory a success and growing it into an advanced green energy project.
Manchester based fashion brand Lavish Alice who dressed stars such as Lindsey Lohan and Elizabeth Hurley has placed its wholesale arm of the business into administration and moved its sales division entirely online.
Formed in 2013, they sold their creations in Selfridge’s, ASOS and Harvey Nicholls.
The company confirmed that it would move to a direct to consumer model as the wholesale arm of the business was facing increasing financial challenges including supply chain issues, increased freight costs, currency exchange losses, wholesale cancellations, late delivery charges and squeezed profit margins.
Co-founder Matthew Newton said: “We took the difficult decision to prioritise our ongoing efforts and resources into the most profitable part of the business.”
He also confirmed that all of the company’s 20 staff would be unaffected by the move.
Ride On Scotland
An e-bike firm operating in Dundee and Leicester has gone into liquidation with the loss of nine positions.
Founded in 2018, the business supplied the latest models of e-bikes along with charging and docking stations, software, maintenance systems and support.
A spokesperson for the company said: “Ride-on Scotland had created a sophisticated and customer focused e-bike hire business that had attracted a substantial membership base and growing interest from city councils across the UK.
“However, the business had been severely impacted by a shortfall in investment leading to unsustainable cash flow problems.”
The company has now ceased operations and is looking for a buyer of its remaining assets.
An aftercare specialist for top of the line luxury goods has gone into liquidation following the announcement that three co-founders were exiting the business.
A spokesperson for The Restory said: “Six years ago, dedication to customer excellence, a love of craftsmanship and a passion for sustainability came together in a spare bedroom in North Kensington to pioneer a category and create the world’s first aftercare platform.
“With the a-team that joined us, we devoted ourselves to building a trusted brand to whom the world’s leading brands could entrust their most important relationships. One could argue that we were a wee bit too early, but today’s market is crystal clear.
“We see an exciting future in the space, and the crucial role aftercare plays. Unfortunately, there have been recent changes that have led us to making the decision to step away from the company in the last couple of weeks.”
Since forming in 2017, the business provided cleaning, maintenance repairs, replacements and bespoke alterations including couture and tailoring. The company was working with brands such as Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Farfetch.
UK toy wholesaler Jonathan’s Toys has been placed into administration following a failure to obtain better terms from suppliers and secure additional funding from investors.
Managing Director Andrew Moulsher said: “Since taking over the business in August 2022, strenuous efforts have been made to secure much needed additional funding to enable the business to trade and grow.
“However, despite initial indications that funding would be forthcoming, it has proved not possible to secure the funding needed.
“More recently, we have sought to broker a deal with our main product supplier that would enable the business to go forward, but this has been unsuccessful and has left me with no option other than to place the business into administration. As part of this process, we are also considering options to wind up the affairs of Top Banana Toys Holdings.
“Regretfully, all avenues have been exhausted and I’m left with no choice.”
Coventry City of Culture Trust
The Coventry City of Culture Trust has gone into administration after failing to secure a solution to its financial problems with the loss of 50 permanent and casual positions.
The trust had been set up to continue the legacy of Coventry’s years as UK City of Culture in 2021 through a range of cultural and community projects.
In a statement the board of trustees said the news was devastating for its team members and partners and that it was regretful of the impact the administration will have on the local organisations and businesses involved.
They continued that whilst they had been unable to find a solution to secure the trust they have “continued to work closely with those who had pledged legacy funding to try to protect those funds for the city and its cultural organisations.”
One of the first consequences of the administration is the closure of The Reel Store attraction in the city.
Billed as the UK’s first permanent digital art gallery, the attraction employed 20 and hosted several well attended exhibitions on Frida Kaholo and a space-themed show from an artist collaborating with NASA.
It was confirmed that funding has also stopped for all other legacy projects that were planned by the Trust.
The Pitchfork Ales brewery in Weston-Super-Mare has gone into voluntary liquidation meaning the end for several popular local craft beers including Old Slug Porter and East Street Cream.
A statement from the Brewery said: “After nearly six years of brewing some of the highest quality cask ales, a combination of factors such as skyrocketing energy and raw ingredient costs, lower volumes in pubs and unsustainable, market decimating pricing practices by our competitors means we have had to put the company into voluntary liquidation.
“We did some awesome stuff with you and a positive attitude got us through previous tough times, and although we like to think of ourselves as “beer super heroes”, we’re not immortal.”
They will continue to liquidate their stock with casks being delivered to pubs and cans and bottles being sold online via their store which will close on March 17th.
Hunter’s Brewery near Newton Abbot in Devon has also gone into administration this week.
Director Paul Walker said: “This is a very sad day. With the rising costs of literally everything, we couldn’t justify carrying on.
“We did, however, pay local suppliers and are only owning loans, HMRC and myself. We will try and come back soon.”
The contactless charity payments system GoodBox is in administration but will continue trading after the High Court approved their plan to restructure and refinance the business.
The plan includes appointing a new board of directors and a partnership with a Canadian contactless firm that could also invest.
The business works with charities such as Age UK, the British Red Cross, the Natural History Museum and Teenage Cancer Trust processing up to 500 transactions an hour.
Chief Executive David White said the company would focus on supporting not-for-profits across the UK.
GoodBox had been restricted from trading since entering administration and acknowledged it would have to deal with a backlog of orders from charities and other clients once those restrictions were lifted.
He said: “This is expected to tilt GoodBox into profitability within a year and allow us to focus subsequently on international expansion.”
He also confirmed that GoodBox was in discussion with online charity shop GiveAsYouLive.com about a potential merger.
A Lincolnshire supplier of wood-based pellets has gone into administration after failing to break into the biomass sector.
3F Pellets was established in 2015 manufacturing and supplying wood-based pellet products such as cat litter, horse bedding and biomass heating pellets.
The company recently invested heavily in machinery and equipment with a view to further expanding into the Biomass industry, but had unfortunately struggled to break into the market further leading to financial difficulties.
Administrators are hoping to find a suitable purchaser for the business and assets to help it expand as intended and safeguard the jobs of 16 members of staff.
Hertfordshire-based Jarvis Contracting has gone into administration with the loss of 70 positions.
The company worked in the residential, health, industrial and education sectors.
A statement from the business blamed unsustainable contact terms for the inevitable decision along with the war in Ukraine, supply chain shortages and inflated energy and fuel costs.
“The company has suffered adverse market conditions in the past two years, including supply chain problems and unexpected inflation, which have made the delivery of long-term fixed-price contracts unviable.
“The result has been significant trading losses with no signs of a recovery in the foreseeable future. These impacts, along with changes in industry regulation and a failing planning system, has made conditions even more challenging for an industry that was already navigating its ways through extremely challenging times with a chronic shortage of skilled trades post-Brexit.”
The business is part of the Jarvis Group of companies which remain profitable and continue to trade normally.
More and more businesses are finding 2023 tougher than they imagined it would be – especially after some of the worst trading conditions in memory recently.
While some directors might be able to plot a way back to profitability, many realise that the only option available to them is to close and to close quickly and efficiently to allow them move onto their next venture.
No matter what situation your company is facing, we offer a free initial consultation for any director or owner who wants to better understand their options.
Even the toughest situations might have an exit but they might not be able to find it until they get in touch first and ask us to help them look for it first.