Whether you’re roaring ahead with the energy a new year brings or catching up to where you wanted to be at this stage – 2024 is well and truly underway.
So before you plough on ahead, take a couple of minutes to catch up on all the interesting business and insolvency news stories you might have missed since you returned.
If you want to know what accountants need to know about insolvency or why an MVL might be a smart call in 2024 or catch up on the rest of our blogs from 2023 and more – you can do that at our advice centre page.
Major Scottish house builder Stewart Milne has announced it is going into administration after a buyer could not be found.
Six other subsidiary companies have also gone into administration that operated at sites across Scotland and north west England. They have ceased trading with immediate effect with no further construction activity completed.
217 positions have been made redundant with more in the supply chain considered to be in jeopardy as a result.
Founder and chairman Stewart Milne had first attempted to sell the business in 2022 so he could retire from the company he founded in 1975. Despite all efforts this was unsuccessful and other attempts to restructure the business were deemed to be unviable.
Mr Milne said: “I am devastated by this totally unexpected outcome of the sale process and struggling to accept it, given the profound impact it will have on employees, sub-contractors, suppliers and customers.
“Despite two bids being submitted, the bank did not accept either and withdrew its funding. I tried everything I could to find a way to achieve a better outcome for the business and the people who depend on it.
“I believe one of the bids could have delivered a comparable, financial return to administration and, crucially, allowed the business to continue to operate, safe-guarding hundreds of jobs and protecting livelihoods.”
A statement from the business said: “The downturn in the UK housing market combined with an extensive sales process not resulting in any viable offers has ultimately led to the need for the directors to regretfully place the Stewart Milne Group Limited and some of its subsidiaries into administration.
“Administrators will concentrate on realising the group’s assets and pursuing an orderly wind down of the business.”
An innovative retail pop-up space provider has closed following the failure to scale funding.
SOok was described as “modular retail space innovator” and had been named as one of the UK’s startups to watch but founder John Hoyle has announced that the business would no longer be trading going ahead.
“In spite of the extraordinary efforts of our team, growing sales and achieving international scale we were unable to raise sufficient investment to continue in the current environment.”
Sook’s model was based on the premise that Hoyle espoused: “the relationship between commercial landlords and occupiers is a broken one due to the misalignment of expectations. Landlords are struggling with high vacancies, but offering traditional terms while occupiers demand flexibility.”
At the end of 2023, Sook was offering retail units in London, Birmingham and Liverpool as well as launching a space in South Africa with a local franchise agreement set up for further potential expansion.
Unfortunately as start up businesses look to scale up, funding becomes even more critical to achieve their growth ambitions and if this falls short then the whole business structure can be vulnerable as was the case with Sook.
Entrepreneurs like John Hoyle will always look to their next venture and said: “I’m so proud of all that we achieved and incredibly sad that we cannot continue. Please support our team members as they search for new roles. They have first hand experience of disrupting the retail and real estate sectors during incredibly challenging times. Thank you to everyone who supported us over the last five years.”
British Corner Shop
A popular online retailer that specialised in selling British consumer goods like crisps and sweets to expats has gone into administration and ceased trading after struggling against the joint impacts of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.
British Corner Shop was formed over 20 years ago and had an inventory of over 6,000 UK household brands.
20 positions at the Bristol based retailer have been made redundant as a result.
A statement from the business said: “British Corner Shop faced significant operational challenges over the past few years and regrettably was no longer able to meet its financial obligations.”
Pure Copper Recycling
A Leicestershire metal recycling business has gone into administration with the loss of eight positions.
Pure Copper Recycling was founded in 2018 as a granulation specialist which recycled and repurposed copper cables and materials obtained from scrap merchants, tradesmen, waste sites and electricians.
A statement from the directors said: “Due to a number of issues, the business was unable to continue trading and regrettably the employees have been made redundant.
“We are now working with advisers to assess the value of the company’s assets and will then undertake a sale process, with a view to securing a return for creditors.”
An advanced engineering manufacturer based in Leicester has posted a second notice of intention (NOI) to appoint administrators this week.
Sapcote Engineering manufactured conveyors, access platforms and various other automation and robotics components and first posted an NOI just before Christmas.
The business was formed in 1971 and had previously worked for such well known businesses as Walkers, Unilever, British American tobacco, KP Snacks and PepsiCo.
The business was acquired in 2021 by the i3 group of companies.
Orange Bikes, manufacturers of some of the world’s most recognisable aluminium single-pivot bikes since 1988, have announced a notice of intention to appoint an administrator.
Based in Halifax, the team made the announcement just before Christmas and shortly after announcing that their factory race team would be discontinued.
A statement issued by the business said: “With so much uncertainty in the bike industry, challenges around the future of the Enduro World Cup Series and the sheer cost of running a competitive factory-level team, we’re pressing pause.
“We’ll return when the time is right but for now, we’re ending on a high and will take a break to focus on our main goal of creating world-class bikes.
“We’re working with advisors with a view to restructuring the business in order to provide a viable platform to service our customers in the best possible way, safeguarding jobs and ensuring the continuation and strength of the Orange Bikes business moving forwards.”
A construction equipment hire company and property developer based in Dorset has gone into administration following the chief executive developing health issues.
D&P Lovell Ltd had been trading profitably but following the chief executive becoming “incapacitated” since September 2023, they had effectively ceased to trade as a result of Mr Lovell’s absence.
Founded in 1995, the business also built local flats and accommodation in the Dorset area but two projects they were working on remain unfinished.
No matter what your goals and aspirations for 2024 are, getting some impartial and professional advice is one of the smartest calls you could make in this or any other year,
Get in touch with us to arrange a free initial consultation with one of our team of advisors today and they’ll be able to let you know what your options are and what decisions you can make to meet them.