Mid-February brings us Valentines Day and Shrove Tuesday so there should be plenty of sweet treats for everybody to enjoy no matter how your business is doing.
But pancakes and chocolates might not be enough for some directors who are doing their best in a difficult economic environment.
Our latest round up of all the important business and insolvency news stories from the past seven days illustrates how businesses in every sector are struggling to make ends meet.
So if you want to know what the main events and changes for businesses could be in 2024; how an insolvency moratorium can help businesses press the pause button and how the insolvency picture looked like in Scotland last year – you can find these stories and more at our advice centre page.
The UK division of a major electric car and van builder has gone into administration with the immediate loss of 33 positions.
Arrival’s US parent division was delisted from the Nasdaq stock exchange last week.
The business has a headquarters in Banbury and a factory in Bicester, Oxfordshire as well as eight other sites across the UK with the remaining 139 staff helping to run the business while the administration proceeds.
In a statement directors said: “The Group’s liquidity position has been impacted by challenging market and macroeconomic conditions resulting in delays in getting the Group’s products to market.
“Administrators are now exploring options for the sale of the business and assets of the companies including its electric vehicle platforms, software, intellectual property and R&D assets for the benefit of creditors.”
A company building a 100 acre, multi-million pound waterfront development in Cornwall has gone into administration.
Corinthian developments were overseeing all aspects of the North Quay development in Hayle.
The local council is working with administrators to ensure a new contractor is brought in to finish the development as close to the original brief as possible, also securing work for the predominantly local workforce.
A statement from the council said they would work closely with the project team to facilitate the delivery of the development in accordance with the planning consent.
“The site, which includes Hayle’s operational harbour, lies with the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site, and is of significant importance to the local boating and fishing community. We want to provide reassurance that Hayle harbour will continue to operate as normal throughout this new phase.”
A Sussex based ethical retailer has ceased trading and gone into voluntary liquidation.
Hisbe was founded in 2013 and operated two stores in Brighton and Worthing. Directors issued a statement on social media which said: “It’s with great sadness that we announce the very painful decision to declare #HISBE insolvent and take the company into voluntary liquidation.
“Since the final tranche of our recovery funding fell through, we have explored all avenues to raise the investment we need to reopen the stores but Hisbe is carrying too much debt from the last four years for funders to put any new money in.
“We were following a strategic turnaround plan and slowly trading our way back, but ultimately could not weather the cumulative impacts of covid, inflation and the cost-of-living crisis.”
AVA – Against Violence & Abuse
A domestic violence charity has announced it is closing and going into liquidation with immediate effect as it is technically insolvent.
The trustees of AVA (Against Violence & Abuse) issued a statement saying: “We know this may come as a shock to some and may be unsettling but we have unavoidably resolved to place the organisation into liquidation as AVA is technically insolvent.
“The decision to close has been a difficult one, and comes following a period of operational and financial difficulty which the charity has tried to work through.
“The Trustees have taken specialist insolvency advice in reaching the decision and are currently and urgently working with the nominated liquidator to devise an orderly wind-down of AVA’s operations.”
They add that AVA’s operations will close with immediate effect and will work with the liquidator in the coming days to arrange the necessary meetings.
A large UK haulier has announced it is going into administration this week.
Young’s Transportation and Logistics Limited confirmed the decision and announced that two of their sites would close immediately with the loss of several positions. One of the remaining three sites in the North West and South East of England has already been sold, protecting those positions.
Operating for over 50 years, Young’s is just the latest company in the sector to succumb to an unsustainable mix of low margins and increasing costs.
A statement from the company said: “The UK logistics market will remain a challenging trading environment for any haulage business for at least the first half of 2024.”
Market analysts confirm that the first quarter is one of the quietest from a volume perspective. One said: “The peak of a market last year saw more volume, then you come into the slower months which is traditionally the start of the year when there’s cash going out of the business and no cash coming in.
“It’s going to be a tough year because like any market it’s supply and demand – and clearly there’s too much capacity in the market.”
A Bedfordshire based flooring specialist has filed notice that it will be going into administration.
The Axiom Group was formed in 1979 before a management buyout took over in 2008. They grew to four different offices across the UK to work on projects for national retail chains, airports, government, healthcare, education and residential clients including Alder Hey Children’s Hospital as well as Manchester and Heathrow airports.
44 positions have been made redundant with immediate effect.
AAD Transport & Bridgetime Transport
Two haulage companies based in Scotland and Wales have appointed administrators this week.
AAD Transport was established in Kirriemuir in 2011 as a family run business. They operated across the UK as well as for clients in Spain and France.
They recently began experiencing difficulty with cash flow rising from operating costs as the price of fuel continued to increase and their profit margins narrowed.
A statement from the business said: “Unfortunately, the transport sector has been severely impacted both by Covid and by higher than normal increases in operating costs in recent times.
“After 13 years in business, we are working hard to enable AAD Transport to continue trading in order to find a buyer for the business and assets, and help to secure 65 positions which are currently at stake.”
Bridgetime Transport were based in Cwmbran, South Wales since 2002 and expanded to become one of the area’s main employers with a staff of nearly 100.
The firm specialised in general haulage, palletised freight, warehousing, storage and parcel deliveries.
The Small Robot Company
An innovative agricultural technology business has gone into voluntary liquidation after struggling to find enough investment to be able to scale up its operations sufficiently.
The Small Robot Company developed a series of on-farm robots to help farmers with various tasks and duties.
They developed a series of four automatons called Tom, Dick, Harry and Wilma to plant, feed and weed arable crops autonomously, with minimal waste.
A statement from the business said: “Our technology delivered value at a profit, with customers waiting but we could not secure the required investment to scale. We had a signed term sheet but unfortunately the investment did not land before our runway ended.
“We co-designed our service with farmers successfully delivering a world first grass weed detection at field scale.
“We believe we developed something that will be a cornerstone of how farms are run in the future, but unfortunately with this attempt we were too early for the market”.
Organisers of an independent music, health and wellbeing festival in Kent have announced the closure and liquidation of the event.
Lovefit took place at Sevenoaks but has made the decision due to rising costs.
A statement from the company said: “It is with a heavy heart that and through teary eyes that we announce the next Lovefit has been cancelled and we have appointed a liquidator.
“The costs for this year have simply gone up too much – we just can’t afford it. The final quotes for this year’s festival have only recently come to us, and we’ve decided it would be irresponsible to continue to commit to something that we can’t be confident would go ahead.
“As a small family run business, Lovefit has been self-funded through family and friends. Though we tried our hardest, we never turned a profit with shortfalls being covered by personal finances.
“We thought things were looking up after the pandemic, but the business environment has changed so much for everyone.
An Essex based contractor specialising in logistics and warehousing has gone into administration.
Readie Construction blamed inflation, clients closing down and stalled projects for the decision.
A statement from directors to staff advised them to look for new positions and blamed “inflationary cost pressures and numerous subcontractor failures.”
Neal Murray Housebuilders
A Scottish home building company has gone into liquidation after failing to financially recover from Covid.
Family-ran Neil Murray Housebuilders based in Turriff has now confirmed it has ceased trading with the loss of 20 positions.
They worked on every aspect of home construction including joinery, bricklaying, roof tiling and painting while specialising in timber frame kits for more eco friendly housing options in Scotland and beyond.
A statement from the directors said: “The construction industry has been met with many challenges in recent years, not least the impact of Covid and lockdowns which led to delays, rising costs of materials and supply issues.
“The business suffered unsustainable cash flow pressures and liquidators will now look to realise assets for the benefit of creditors.”
Ware With All
A popular Scottish bathroom supplies business has ceased trading and been court-ordered into liquidation.
Ware With All was based in Greenock for more than twenty years and supplied hotels and housebuilders across the UK but has now ceased trading and closed with nine positions being made redundant with immediate effect.
The administrators will now carry out their statutory duties including assessing stock, orders and customer details.
A Glasgow based post-production company has gone into administration.
Arteus, previously known as 422.tv was a full service film and video production company with another office in Manchester. They offered sound, recording, graphics and VFX working on various series for the BBC and Channel Four.
A Doncaster based industrial manufacturing business has gone into administration for the second time in five years.
Bawtry Carbon made carbon cathode blocks for the aluminium smelting sector with 90% of its business being exported outside of Europe.
Directors confirmed that the majority of the 105 strong workforce had been made redundant after strenuous attempts to find a buyer had failed saying they have had to make the difficult decision to wind down operations whilst the next options are explored.
Enact, a private equity fund which brought the business from its previous administration in 2019 said: “We are naturally disappointed not to have led an ultimately successful turnaround of Bawtry Carbon.
“Over the last four years we have been very supportive of the business however the macroeconomic events of Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine have been felt throughout the aluminium smelting industry both by the company and its customer base.
“Despite the company’s niche manufacturing presence and strong customer relationships, the severe impact of external pressures along with the credit failure of a key customer meant that it was not in a financial position to continue trading.”
If your 2024 hasn’t taken off yet – don’t worry – there is still lots of time to make the important changes you need to give your business a better chance at recovering and building back stronger.
But only if you make the most of the time available starting with a free initial consultation with one of our advisors.
Once they have a clearer idea on where your firm is and where you want it to be then they can help you plan a roadmap to get you there – but only if you take the easy first step and get in touch with us first!