What happened between Dec 8th to 13th?

Whether your business is winding down for the holiday season or gearing up for its busiest period of the year – it’s still important to keep an eye on the bigger picture.

So grab a couple of minutes to yourself and catch up with all the interesting and important business and insolvency news stories in our latest regular weekly round up. 

So if you want to know why 2024 could continue to be a rocky road for the haulage industry; why business closures have now overtaken start-ups for the first time in 13 years or a look at the past and future of business energy prices – you can find them all here and more. 

VBites Food

A plant based food manufacturer established by prominent entrepreneur Heather Mills has gone into administration. 

VBites Food was founded in 1993 and manufactured a range of plant based meat and cheese products from its two sites in Peterlee and Corby. 

A statement from the directors said that the company had recently seen increased cash flow pressure due to rising raw material costs and energy prices as well as a softening of consumer demand for alternative protein products in the wake of the cost of living crisis.

The directors looked to explore all options including trying to secure additional funding but were able to reach an agreement leaving no alternative but to appoint administrators.  

24 positions have been made redundant as a result but several more have been retained while a buyer is sought for the business and both sites. 

Heather Mills said: “With great regret, I’m sorry to announce that after 30 years of pioneering plant-based production and innovation in the meat-free, fish-free and dairy-free sectors, VBites Foods LTd, a company very dear to my heart, is entering administration this week. 

“This is extremely distressing for me on a personal level but also for my wonderfully loyal and hard-working staff. 

“We have been the pioneers for over 30 years and effecting a major shift in global human health, the preservation of the environment and the protection of animal welfare. 

“VBites has been vehemently proud to be able to offer a viable, tasty and affordable plant based food products both direct to the consumer and in the wholesale markets for all these years and I cannot thank our loyal customers enough for their unwavering support and engagement with us over the years.”

Fancy Dress Ball

A West Yorkshire firm described as “one of the largest online costume suppliers in the UK” has filed a notice to appoint an administrator. 

Fancy Dress Ball was formed in Halifax in 2008 and employs 16 staff. 

The company has over 20,000 costumes, wigs and accessories, sourcing costumes from all over the world for customers and would be hoping for a boost from a busy Christmas and New Year season.

WHP Engineering

A specialist engineering business in Gateshead which focuses on designing and building cleanrooms, clean manufacturing and process systems across the healthcare, life sciences and personal care cosmetics sectors. 

A statement from the company said: “Despite the scale and success achieved over recent years, the severe impact of Covid and recent pressures, including factors such as a contract which was loss-making and the business failure of a key subcontractor. 

“This meant that WHP was not in a financial position to continue trading so we have had to make the difficult decision to cease operations with the regrettable loss of 61 positions.”

The design and build elements of WHP’s business were particularly exposed to a range of negative factors including cost inflation, squeezed margins, labour shortages and customer insolvency. These in turn negatively impacted the company’s cash-flow dramatically. 

Despite considering several strategic options including a potential sale of shares and assets as well as sourcing external funding, it was not possible to conclude given the limited timeframe. 

Theobalds Park Estate

A Hertfordshire estate which includes a Grade II listed hotel has gone into administration and is up for sale. 

The Birch Cheshunt hotel sits on 55 acres of land after opening in 2020 with two restaurants, bars, meeting and events rooms, a gym and even a farm. 

It closed along with its sister hotel – the Birch Selsdon – in South Croydon due to severe cash constraints on the owners. 

The building has recently been refurbished so administrators are hopeful of a relatively quick sale to interested purchasers.

WJ Capper Transport

A Shropshire based transport company has gone into administration weeks after agreeing a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) with creditors.

The 66-year-old company was headquartered in Telford and specialised in logistic services including haulage, freight and warehousing. 

They employed 45 staff and had recently sought to expand its service offering by joining the HazChem network and local parcel delivery and collection in the Telford area.

One thing every business owner and director knows is that time is one of the most precious commodities they have. 

While the Christmas and New Year period might offer some time off, it’s not infinite and 2024 will be upon us before you can even think about it. 

That’s why it’s so important to get some guidance and advice on how your business can start the new year in the strongest possible position while you can. 

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 is and isn’t feasible to help your business and how you can put your plans into action.