Congratulations on making it to February!
January felt like the longest month on record so it’s a relief to be able to turn the calendar to a new picture and new month.
As 2024 is a leap year, this February has 29 days giving us an extra day that we usually don’t have.
While you might very well be working, the extra time reminds us that there are other things directors and business owners can do too – including taking a few minutes to refresh their minds and catch up on all the important business and insolvency news stories they might have missed in the past seven days.
So if you want to know how an moratorium can help business owners catch a breath and a valuable pause; how insolvencies in 2023 played out in Scotland and what the main events and changes for businesses could be in 2024 – you can do that at our advice centre page.
One of the UK’s biggest dispensing chemist names has gone into liquidation.
Private equity owners Aurelius made the announcement confirming that this was the final stage of its year long divestment campaign.
When the business was sold to the new owners in 2021, the healthcare chain employed more than 2,500 pharmacists at 1,300 pharmacies.
The last of these closed in November 2023 when the retailer exited the high street and closed their 237 concessions within Sainsbury’s supermarkets in response to what they saw as “changing market conditions”.
The pharmacies were “bought individually or in regional packages by independent pharmacy owners and local entrepreneurs”. As a result, redundancies were avoided as staff were transferred across when branches were sold.
A UK smartphone manufacturer that builds tougher enhanced models for brands such as Cat, Land Rover and Motorola has shut down after a “critical planned restructuring” failed.
Founded in 2009, Bullitt produced mobile devices and accessories for other businesses as well as its own models. It was also involved in satellite connectivity projects.
The company had planned to transfer its satellite business and 100 employees to a new company owned by creditors but this appears to have fallen through with all posts being made redundant.
This news will shrink the already small “rugged” smartphone market in the UK and beyond.
A component manufacturer with four sites in Hampshire has gone into administration.
Formaplex supplied the automotive, motorsport, aerospace, medical markets for over 20 years but while the firm continues trading, 171 positions have been made redundant with immediate effect while many of the remaining workers confirm that they have not yet been paid their wages for January.
A statement from the company said: “Production partially restarted this week so with support from staff we were able to recommence trading quickly.
“We have received a good level of interest from several prospective buyers for the business with active discussions ongoing.
“As part of our efforts to save Formaplex, it has been necessary to rightsize the business to reflect its prospective revenues. Regrettably, this means that 171 posts across our four sites have been made redundant.
“We understand that it is a difficult time for these people and are providing them with support on claiming their entitlements.
“Our remaining 274 employees will continue to work on production at the sites as we seek a buyer for the business.”
Ingle and Rhode
An ethical jewellery business in London has announced they are preparing for voluntary liquidation as a result of rising costs and lower turnover.
Ingle and Rhode was formed in 2007 and traded from a site just off Oxford Street in the capital and online.
A statement from the director said: “It is with the heaviest of hearts that we took the decision that Ingle and Rhode should cease to trade. This decision was not made lightly, and we explored every avenue to try to keep the business going.
“However, in the end, the combined effects of the pandemic, inflation and the economic slowdown have proved too much despite our best efforts. First and foremost, we are deeply saddened for our staff, customers, suppliers and investors, all of whom have given us such fantastic support over many years.
“Nonetheless, we can all be proud of what we achieved together, including being one of the first jewellers in the world to offer certified Fairtrade gold, and one of the first jewellers to become a BCorp.
“Together we created a pioneering ethical fine jewellery brand that accelerated the adoption of ethical sourcing across the industry.”
A London based insurance provider has gone into administration after running out of options due to its financial position.
Humn was formed in 2018 to provide real-time, data-driven fleet insurance. They expanded in 2021 and acquired Walsingham Motor Insurance to increase their portfolio of services.
A statement from the business said: “The directors Humn.ai Limited has been exploring strategic options to address the medium-term funding requirements of the company.
“Despite extensive efforts and having exhausted all options, the difficult decision was taken by the directors to place the company into administration.
“Administrators have completed the sale of Walsingham Motor Insurance Limited which has maintained the roles of 11 employees. Unfortunately the majority of Humn staff has been made redundant with the retained staff supporting administrators as they look to wind down the operations of the business.
A Midlands based contractor has issued a notice to appoint administrators and cease trading.
Enrok Construction has three offices in Derbyshire and Staffordshire but over recent months has faced several challenges including the insolvency of a key supplier along with delays to key contracts that has led to increasing cash flow pressure.
The directors concluded that insolvency was unavoidable and as such, took the “difficult” decision to put the company into administration with seven of the eight employees being made redundant.
A statement issued from the directors said: “The building and construction sector continues to face a number of headwinds, including persistent cost inflation and material shortages which have had the effect of eroding the thin margins that are so often seen in competitive fixed price contracts.
“Our intention is to assist the employees that have unfortunately been made redundant whilst we seek to realise the assets of the company.”
A Glasgow based ethical grocery business has gone into administration.
Locavore had recently expanded into new stores and a larger warehouse facility but had incurred significant set-up costs and after being adversely impacted by rising costs.
Founded in 2011, Locavore was a not-for-profit social enterprise that sought to build a sustainable local food system that benefited the local community.
They operated four zero-waste organic supermarkets in Govanhill, Partick, Kirkintilloch and Edinburgh.
In November 2022, the company launched a crowdfund to help it survive the cost of living crisis which raised over £73,000.
Their Edinburgh and Kirkintilloch stores have already closed but the remaining ones will stay open while a solution is sought by administrators.
A statement from the business said: “It’s disappointing that, despite the investments, the expansion plans have not come to fruition.”
We’re now into the second month of the year which means that 2024 can really begin in earnest.
Plans that were conceived in December and January can now start to be put into place so that they will really start to take effect from now onwards.
But if you haven’t engaged in any new plans yet or are a bit unsure about your direction of travel then it might be the best time to get in touch with us and arrange a free initial consultation.
One of our advisors will get a better handle of your firm’s unique circumstances and can then let you know exactly what options are available to you and what changes you can make.
No matter what goals you have for your business this year – once you get in touch you will be a step closer to achieving them.