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To 11th May 2022 Press Releases from InfolinkGazette

UK insolvencies look set to average 2500 businesses a month and result in rising trade credit insurance claims. InfolinkGazette has reported that March 2022's UK insolvency figures reinforce concerns over a prolonged surge. Overall,  there were 2,114 company insolvencies recorded in the month, more than double the number registered in March 2021 and 34% up on the pre-pandemic number of 1,582 in March 2019. InfolinkGazette warns that when compulsory liquidations and Administrations reach and eventually surpass pre-pandemic levels, this may result in average monthly insolvencies of approximately 2,500 UK businesses. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “our experience of the current insolvencies is that the mean HMRC Loss per Debtor has almost doubled from £80,000 to £156,000, which along with crown preference means dividends to unsecured creditors are falling and credit insurance claims will be rising”. Greg added: “smaller unsecured creditor pay-outs will have a knock-on effect, further driving up insolvencies, so anyone supplying goods and services on open credit terms would be well advised to check their credit insurance cover”.

HMRC had a quiet week in the courts last week (06/05/22) only issuing 3 Initial Stage Winding up Petition Applications, one of which was against fruit and vegetable wholesalers Meete Limited. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “this case illustrates the difficulty of interpreting abridged accounts, analysts can observe massive movements in cash and short term liabilities between the 2019 and 2020 balance sheets, but there are no accompanying notes to make sense of what happened”.

After 5 profit warnings since December 2018, McColl's Retail Group plc finally succumbs to what has seemed inevitable for some time and filed a Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator yesterday (06/05/2022). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “the debt laden retailer with sales of almost £1.3 Billion hasn’t been able to generate the profits required to service its debt and dividend policy since 2017; the 2018 and 2019 dividends were paid out of reserves”.

Sad to see the demise of North East Warrington Credit Union (NEWCU) Limited, who filed a  Notice of Appointment to appoint an administrator in the High Court today (04/05/2022). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “the latest BOE quarterly statistics for the credit union sector reveals that the value of loans issued to members surpassed the pre-pandemic peak of £1.70bn, increasing 5.2% in 2021 Q4 to £1.74bn after hitting a pandemic low of £1.59bn in 2020 Q3”.

Founded over 35 years ago, Doncaster Pharmaceuticals Group, one of the UK's leading specialist pharmaceutical wholesalers filed a Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator today (04/05/2022), along with associate Testerworld Limited. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “these are multi million turnover companies, ultimately owned by Converse Pharma.” Sky News previously reported that Converse Pharma Group had had its licence temporarily suspended by the MHRA.

In a quieter week in the High Courts, there were just 43 Initial Stage Winding up (30/04/22), 5 of which, where HMRC was the Petitioner. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “16 of the Initial Stage Winding up Petitions were against construction firms, a sector which continues to endure the brunt of the current insolvency surge”.

Mizen Design/Build Limited, a subsidiary of MIZEN PROPERTIES LIMITED filed an Application for a Company Voluntary Arrangement yesterday (29/04/2022). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “sales, which had peaked at £27 million, fell to £17 million in 2019 and the 2020 accounts are 5 months overdue, never a good sign”.

AO World plc warns on profits today (29/04/2022) pointing the figure at volatile market conditions, inflationary cost pressures and logistical challenges in the supply chain, together with the escalating cost of living for consumers. The Group will focus on cash generation to strengthen the balance sheet whilst optimising the cost base to align with the expected lower levels of revenues. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “AO warned on profits in November 2021 blaming the nationwide shortage of delivery drivers, ongoing disruption in the global supply chain, and the German online market becoming increasingly competitive”.

AVEVA Group plc the British multinational information technology consulting company warned on profits today (27/04/22). Greg

 Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “Aveva cited a number of reasons including the impact of the war in Ukraine, sanctions on Russia and the cessation of new business in Russia”.

PVC windows & doors manufacturer, Crystal Clear Group Limited filed a Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator today (26/04/2022). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “sales fell from £12.7 million to £7.5 million; long term debt and interest payments all went up and a previously profitable business became loss making”.

Greenlight Credit Ltd t/a Varooma, log book lenders filed a Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator in the High Court yesterday (25/04/2022). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “sales fell from just below £17 million to £12 million and although cost of sales fell, interest payments didn’t, and healthy profits turned in to huge losses”. Greg added: “that’s the fundamental risk with debt, it isn’t a variable cost and when revenues and profits fall it becomes a proportionately bigger burden on company finances”. Watch out for the impact of CBILS on future insolvency rates.

In the second of two short weeks, there were 45 Initial Stage Winding up Petitions in the High Court last week (22/04/22), 7 of which, where HMRC was the Petitioner. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: 18 of the Initial Stage Winding up Petitions were against construction firms, a sector that seem to be bearing the brunt of the insolvency surge”.

22/04/2022 - Insurance and reinsurance brokers Regis Mutual Management Limited filed an Administration Application at the High Court. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: over the last few years, sales had collapsed from a high of £18 million and losses increased, resulting in an extraordinarily weak Balance Sheet”.

21/04/2022 - The Rank Group PLC warn on profits and update previously guided EBIT range of £55m-£65m for the year ending 30 June 2022 to a range of £47m-£55m. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: I suspect wealthy Russian visitor numbers are well down on normal.”

March 2022 insolvency figures reinforce concerns over a prolonged surge, with 2,114 company insolvencies recorded in the month, more than double the number registered in March 2021, and 34% up on the pre-pandemic number of 1,582 in March 2019. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: when compulsory liquidations and Administrations reach and eventually surpass pre-pandemic levels, we could be looking at average monthly insolvencies of 2,500.”

QUINTO CRANE & PLANT LIMITED filed a Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator in the High Court today (21/04/22). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: many of the usual warning signs were present including changes of accounting reference date and 4 CCJs in the space of a month.”

In a short week, there were 44 Initial Stage Winding up Petitions in the High Court last week  (17/04/22) 9 of which, where HMRC was the Petitioner. Terminal 5 Property Limited have petitioned for the winding up (initial stage petition) of Shiva Hotels Heathrow Limited. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: Shiva Hotels was founded by former Lehman Brothers derivatives trader Rishi Sachdev in 2003.

UK based satellite operator, Avanti Communications Group PLC filed a Notice of Appointment to appoint an administrator today (13/04/2022). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “the group claimed to have invested $1.2 billion in the satellite fleet“

There were 44 Initial Stage Winding up Petitions in the High Court last week, 7 (10/04/22) of which, where HMRC was the Petitioner. Raventree Limited have petitioned for the winding up (initial stage petition) of Cosmur Construction (London) Limited. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “the London based builder’s sales were almost £26 million in the last financial year”.

Quitting Russia can take a bite out of margins and raise impairment charges. This week (06/04/2022), Hyve Group PLC warn on margins and the need to review cost base to ensure that alignment with the reduced size of the Group after announcing that it has entered into a conditional agreement with Rise Expo Ltd over the sale of its Russian business for a maximum cash consideration of £72m. The deal is structured as earn-out consideration payable over a ten-year period. The Group expects to report a loss on disposal of its Russian business as a result of the transaction. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “with the price of a barrel of crude hovering around $102, Shell and BP won’t be worried about margins but impairment charges resulting from their decision to quit Russia could be as high as $5 billion for Shell and $25 billion for BP”.

Pipeline Engineering & Supply Co. Limited filed a Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator today (06/04/2022). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “Pipeline Engineering Supply are owned by New York Stock Exchange listed CIRCOR International Inc.”

HMRC issued winding up petition applications (initial stage petitions) in the High Court against 7 companies so far this week, including THE CRAFT BEER COMPANY LTD and 5 more companies in the Group.

The Sofa Workshop Limited filed a Notice of Appointment to appoint an administrator in the High Court today (31/03/2022). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “it looks like  the existing customer order book was sold on the same day to Timothy Oulton (UK) Limited (formerly HALO FURNISHINGS LIMITED), who were the parent company of The Sofa Workshop”.

Prestigious private members club Royal Naval Club and Royal Albert Yacht Club Limited filed a Notice of Appointment to appoint an administrator today (29/03/2022). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “it looks like a classic liquidity squeeze, bank loans and overdrafts increasing and cash flow shrinking”.

Ladies fashion retailer GENUS UK LIMITED, currently in a Company Voluntary Arrangement filed a Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator today (28/03/2022) ). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “this could be the 5th insolvency; the last CVA ended almost £600,000 in arrears”. Greg added: “the parent company is the person entitled under a debenture, which is never a good sign; it’s rarely a good idea to grant open credit terms when the owners of the business are not prepared to do likewise”.

Bemaco Steel Limited filed a Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator on Friday (25/03/2022). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “sales of £11 million in 2021 are only 25% of 2019 sales”.

Building Services Group Kershaw Group Holdings Limited and 3 subsidiaries filed a Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator today (24/03/2022). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “sales had been as high as £37 million but slumped sharply to £28 million in 2020”.

Funeral Directors Dignity plc warned on profits today, citing lower prices and rising costs, but the biggest factor affecting future profits is likely to be the death rate and the real risk that after COVID-19 passes the excess death effect of the past two years starts to reverse itself. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “the widespread adoption of price comparison sites for making funeral arrangements might seem alien to some, but the increased competition they encourage has already driven down prices and may continue to do so”.

Construction group TWENTY 1 GROUP HOLDINGS LIMITED and several subsidiaries filed a Notice of Appointment to appoint an administrator today (21/03/2022). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “sales peaked at £72 million, declining to £68 million in the pandemic hit 2020, when bank debt went from zero to £1.25 milion”.

S.D Taylor Limited T/A Loans at Home, ultimately controlled by Non-Standard Finance PLC filed an updated Administration Application in the High Court today (14/03/2022). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “sales peaked at £65 million but fell to below £44 million in 2020”.

Roadbridge UK Limited filed a Notice of Appointment to appoint an administrator (11/03/2022). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “the company reported sales of £96 million in 2020 and appeared to be generating cash from its operations but was reported to have stopped work on construction sites last week”.

HMRC have filed a Winding up Petition Application (11/03/2022) against Harland And Wolff (Methil) Limited, ultimately owned by the AIM listed Harland & Wolff Group Holdings plc. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “the Group also owns the Islandmagee gas storage project, which is expected to provide 25% of the UK’s natural gas storage capacity”.

Specialist later living care real estate developer Castleoak Care Developments Limited and Castleoak Holdings Limited filed Company Voluntary Arrangement application in the High Court (10/03/2022). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “group turnover peaked at £75 million, but the company filed an accounting period extension and still haven’t filed accounts for 2020”. Greg added, accounting period extensions have become a sure fired sign of trouble?

To 9th March 2022 Press Releases from InfolinkGazette

The pandemic and its immediate aftermath demonstrated how unstable and delicate supply-chains can be and they are coming under even greater pressure in the wake of the Russia Ukraine conflict. Logistical issues alone would have badly affected supply-chains but add in the impact of financial sanctions, commodity price rises, and things are going to get much worse. Thousands of UK business rely on Russian and Ukrainian suppliers and customers. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “Flutter, the owner of FanDuel and Paddy Power stopped short of warning on profits but highlighted the exposure to Russia and Ukraine in their latest outlook statement. Russia and Ukraine accounted for £41m and £19m contributions respectively in 2021. Greg added: “There will be literally 100’s of UK listed companies currently working out how their profit expectations will be impacted by the loss of revenue from Russia/Ukraine and the knock on effects of a seriously disrupted supply chain in everything from rare earth metals to wheat. In 2020, profit warnings rocketed, doubling to 760 a year on the back of the pandemic before falling back to near normal volumes towards the end of 2021. We are expecting a second surge of listed company profit warnings resulting directly from wide-ranging exposures to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine”.

 

CNG (Group) Limited, the ultimate parent company of CNG Electricity Limited, CNG Energy Limited & CNG Central Services Co Limited [all in administration] filed a notice of intention to appoint an administrator in the High Court today (01/03/22). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “at their peak, the group turned over almost £1.2 billion, which would make CNG the second largest casualty of the energy crisis, after Bulb”.

Flutter, the owner of FanDuel and Paddy Power refer to Russia and Ukraine exposures in the latest outlook statement. Russia and Ukraine accounted for £41m and £19m contributions respectively in 2021. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “Flutter stopped short of warning on profits, but we expect to see a sharp increase in the number of listed company profit warnings resulting from wide-ranging exposure to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine”.

Norton Aluminium the UK 's leading manufacturer of high-grade aluminium foundry alloys had a Winding Up Petition Application filed against them in the High Court last week. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “it doesn’t look like a hearing date has been set yet, so nothing has been published in the Gazette, but the petitioner is Benfleet Scrap Co Limited”.

Door step lender Morses Club PLC warned on profits today (21/02/2021) blaming a rapid increase in claim volumes submitted via claims management companies. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “profits at Morses had already slumped from £20 million in 2019 to £0.5 million in 2021”. Greg added: sub prime lenders have become an easy target for claims management companies who submit claims in batches often on behalf of hundreds of customers at a time, all arguing they have been treated unfairly”.

LoopUp (providers of cloud telephony for Microsoft Teams) surprise the market with results supposed broadly in line with market expectations: “the Group expects both revenue and EBITDA for year ended 31 December 2021 to be broadly in line with market expectations with outturns at approximately £19.5 million (FY2020: £50.2 million) and £0.9million (FY2020: £15.3 million) respectively. the Group expects FY2022 revenue to be in the £15-16 million range.” Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “the shares bombed on the back of the announcement, so it’s safe to say the market was not expecting to see the full impact of a return to the office and face to face meetings”.

Office furniture manufacturer Sven Christiansen Plc filed a Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator in the High Court today (18/02/2022). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “sales and profits peaked around 2018 and have been declining since then”.

Daly International (UK) Limited and infrastructure delivery & consultancy servicing to the UK telecommunications industry filed a Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator today (16/02/2022). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “at their peak, Daly turned over £36 million, but have been declining since 2017”.

Another retail giant files for Administration. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “Studio Retail Group Plc the British home shopping company with a £0.5 billion sales turnover, filed a Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator in the High Court today (14/02/2022)”. Greg added: “the company issued a profit warning a few days ago, but there was no real hint of what was coming around the corner”.

TV Shopping retailer Ideal Shopping Direct Ltd obviously didn’t manage to conclude the appointment of an Administrator because they filed a Notice of Intent for the second time on Friday (11/02/2022). Subsidiary company Craft Retail International Ltd also filed a notice of intent to appoint an Administrator.

Are HMRC losing patience with GFG Alliance? Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “This week, four Winding up Petition Applications have been filed in the High Court against GFG Alliance companies: Liberty Performance Steels Limited, Liberty Merchant Bar plc, Liberty Pipes (Hartlepool) Limited and Speciality Steel UK Limited and the Petitioner in each case is HMRC”.

Margins take a hit at Unilever PLC as price inflation drives up costs. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “Unilever PLC warned on 2022 profits as higher commodity, freight and packaging prices are expected to increase expenses by circa €3.5 billion, adversely affecting operating margins by between 140bps and 240bps”.

Private Equity backed Macrophage Pharma Limited, Windsor based company focused on the discovery of transformational autoimmune disease and cancer therapeutics filed a Notice of Appointment to appoint an administrator on 09/02/2022.

125-year-old construction firm Wildgoose Construction Limited went in to Administration owing nearly £9 million to over 700 unsecured creditors. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “Wildgoose had been making substantial losses even before the pandemic exacerbated trading conditions with supply chain issues, shortages of raw material and wage inflation.”

TV shopping giant Ideal Shopping Direct Ltd filed a Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator in the High Courts on 28/01/2022. All credit goes to Kevin Lucas for recognising that Ideal Shopping is the company behind Ideal World TV and Create and Craft TV. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “Ideal Shopping was a profitable business but undercapitalised, although it looked like it had sufficient resilience to avoid an insolvency”.

Mulbury Homes Limited filed a Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator in the High Courts on Thursday (03/02/2022). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “Mulbury claim to have over 1,000 homes under construction”.

Mayne Coaches Ltd the leading coach hire company in the North West filed a Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator in the High Court on Tuesday (01/02/2022). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “this is a business that can trace its roots back to the 1920’s with the purchase of a Model T van”.

Together Energy (Retail) Limited filed a Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator in the High Court yesterday (31/01/2022). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “its barely newsworthy that another energy company is about to enter insolvency, but Together Energy is part of a sizeable group with turnover of £92 million, supplying 157,000 metre points.”

Mi-Space Property Services Limited, Midas Commercial Developments and Midas Retail Limited all filed Notices of Intention to appoint an administrator in the High Court yesterday (31/01/2022). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “this follows the same filings from Midas Group Limited and Midas Construction Limited on 28/01/2022.

Midas Group Limited and Midas Construction Limited filed a Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator on Friday (28/01/2022). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “the group turned over £291 million in the Covid impacted period to 31st October 2020.”

In The Style Group PLC, the rapidly growing e-commerce womenswear fashion brand with an influencer collaboration model warned on profits today 19/0/22, blaming global supply chain constraints, cost pressures and extended transit times.  Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “the fashion brand is seeing unpredictable transit times impacting launch timetables resulting in shorter full price sales periods for some ranges, leading to increased levels of discounting to clear the old range ahead of subsequent launches”.

THG PLC warned on adjusted EBITDA margins today (18/01/22), which are expected to be in the range of 7.4% to 7.7%, compared to market expectations of c.7.9%, after taking into account c.90bps of adverse foreign currency movements. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “stakeholders may wonder why adverse foreign currency movements are not covered by foreign exchange derivative hedges.”

Yorkshire based P.D.R. Construction Limited, one of the largest independent construction resources working in the UK filed a Notice of Appointment to appoint an administrator in the High Court today (11/01/2022). In the last accounts, the company reported a turnover of £83 million, up from £70 million the prior year, but claimed that this was 10% below expectations, due to the impact of the pandemic on the last few months trading of the financial year.”

ROBINSONS COUNTRY LEISURE LIMITED, the UK's biggest equestrian retailers went into liquidation owing £3.8 million to unsecured creditors, including £3.6 million to its intermediate parent company Sportsdirect.com Retail Limited, ultimately owned by Frasers Group Plc. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “the directors of ROBINSONS COUNTRY LEISURE LIMITED obviously only had qualified support from Frasers Group and the April 2020 accounts were signed off on a “non going concern basis”. Greg added: “although in this cases The Southern Co-Operative Limited were the only other unsecured creditor, suppliers should be wary of assuming financial support from a blue chip parent company because it may not always be forthcoming”.

Plan B Covid restrictions continue to hit the hospitality sector - Tasty plc the operators of dim t and Wildwood restaurants warned on profits over the rising infection rates of the latest Omicron Covid-19 variant and its impact on trading for the peak December trading period. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “Tasty have confirmed what everyone expected, which is that the reinstatement of working from home advice by the UK Government, significantly reduced the number of customers eating out and deterred the larger Christmas bookings”.

MiChild Holdings Limited, a holding company in the MiChild Group filed a Notice to appoint an administrator at the High Court today (04/01/2022). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “the MiChild Group expanded rapidly through acquisition in the middle of the pandemic, but could the big rise in working from home reduce demand for nursery school places?”

Blow wind blow! Good Energy Group PLC issued a profit warning today, reducing guidance by £3 million since the last market update in November. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “part of the increase is due to higher energy prices, but apparently, the industry has experienced a sustained period of low wind since 16 December 2021, with current wind levels at 33% of seasonal norms”.

AIM listed oil exploration & production company Hague and London Oil PLC have filed an Administration Application in the High Court yesterday (22/12/2021). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “around the time Hague and London should have been filing their 2020 accounts, they filed and accounting period extension from 31 December 2020 to 30 June 2021; this is so often a sign of trouble ahead.”

The disrupter faces disruption - Boohoo group plc the AIM listed, Jersey registered fashion retailer warns on profits despite demand growth, lowering profit guidance as a consequence of significantly higher returns rates, international delivery disruption, and significant ongoing pandemic-related cost inflation.

A big month for England & Wales insolvencies in November! Figures published today by the Insolvency Service show 1,674 Insolvencies, up 88% on November 2020 and 11% on November 2019. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “this is the highest E&W insolvency total since January 2019 and comes at a time when Compulsory Liquidations are still at a fraction of normal volumes”. Greg added: “once the breaks are off on Compulsory Liquidations, total insolvencies are set to rise rapidly”.

Europe's biggest maker of retailer own brand household goods, McBride Plc  and perennial issuers of profit warnings issued another profit warning today (16/12/2021). The Group now expects to report an adjusted loss before interest, tax, and amortisation (EBITA) of between £14m and £17m for the six months ended 31 December 2021. McBride blamed the increase loss compared to the previous update in October on rapidly rising input costs and the timing of pricing agreements. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “we’ve reported 5 profit warnings for McBride in 2021”.

AIM listed online estate agent Purplebricks Group PLC dropped the ball again with another warning on profits. A recent internal review revealed process issue in the handling of communication to tenants on behalf of its landlords in relation to their deposits potentially leaving the company on the hook for up to £9 million. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “the market capitalisation for Purplebricks is around 5% of its 2017 peak”.

London Lions Basketball Club (UK) Limited filed an application for a Company Voluntary Arrangement in the High Court today (10/12/21). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “London Lions play in the professional British Basketball League (BBL)and were facing a Compulsory strike-off action, which was suspended on 19/08/21”.

[This years thoughts - It has been a roller-coaster ride for insolvency numbers, 2019 was a fairly normal year for insolvencies at around 18K, (unaffected by the pandemic). 2020 mid pandemic was just over 14K; 2021 still impacted by the pandemic will result in around 16.5K insolvencies. However, regardless of the impact of any long-term economic scarring, there are still over 6,000 companies that were vulnerability to insolvency from April 2020 onwards, but were saved by the pandemic support measures; they will surely succumb to insolvency now that the support measures have gone. I can see your rationale for loans extending life spans and for me the big question is how many of the 6,000 bullet dodgers are going to fail in the near term; there is a school of thought that says they have been saved by the low cost loans, whereas I am more pessimistic and I think a lot of these 6,000 really vulnerable companies wouldn’t have met the lending criteria for a CLBIL; many would only have received the lower value BBL, meaning that the cash will have been exhausted. The other point that makes me pessimistic is that many of these companies were already overly leveraged and even though the company may have qualified for a CLBIL, they are going to emerge from the pandemic too heavily indebted; by the time base rates have gone up by 50 – 75 bps, they will be looking to shed some debt through restructuring.

2021 saw another 116,130 unsuccessful CBILS/BBLS applicants bringing the total number of failed applicants to 676,014; companies that are now beginning to swell the 2021 insolvency numbers, which could end the year as high as 16,500, up from 14,000 in 2020, the first year of the pandemic, but still well below 18,000 in 2019. A combination of light touch HMRC enforcement, low-cost loans and the furlough scheme temporarily saved around 6,000 companies with a very high vulnerability to insolvency, and we can expect these companies to swell the insolvency number again in 2022, possibly reaching as high as 22,500 insolvencies.

MTA Personal Injury Solicitors LLP filed an Application to appoint an administrator in the High Court today (30/11/2021). If the application proceeds to an actual appointment of an Administrator, that will be at least the 3rd Personal Injury firm to enter Administration this year. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “it is only over a great deal of time that high volumes of client personal injury claims result in settlements and profits for the firm, which makes cash flow notoriously difficult. Greg added: “3 law firms doesn’t make it a crisis, but creditors would be wise to look out for obvious signs of balance sheet strain before extending credit.”

FTSE 250 electrical retailer AO WORLD PLC warns on profits and the impact of a nationwide shortage of delivery drivers, the ongoing disruption in the global supply chain, and increased competition in the German online market. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “concerns over increased shipping costs, material input prices and consumer price inflation seem to be common challenges in the retail sector and look likely to hurt the vitally important Christmas trading period”.

Social Energy Supply Ltd filed a Notice to appoint an administrator at the High Court today (23/11/2021). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “it is interesting that the directors signed of the accounts as a going concern, as late as 25th July 2021, still believing that they had the support of the parent company; they would already have known how much they’d be paying for energy on the wholesale market.”

Profits plunge at listed convenience store operator McColl's Retail Group plc as supply chain disruption impacts availability of high margin product lines in stores. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “debt leverage (Long Term Debt/EBITDA) is rising, Interest Cover is falling and dependence on the support of creditors is rising”.

AIM listed steel fabricator Billington Holdings Plc warns on profits as it becomes clear that key projects will not be completed by year-end. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “as is becoming increasingly common in the construction sector Billington also commented on continuing material price inflation and supply chain constraints”.

Broadcaster Arena Television Limited filed an Application for Administration in the High Court today (15/11/21). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “superficially, the 2019 accounts looked ok, but the majority of that expensive broadcasting equipment was on hire purchase, with £10.5 million due within a year.”

Purplebricks Group plc announces lower earnings guidance, blaming uncertainty over supply and demand in the housing market and business transformation disruption. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “this roughly translates as they are running out of houses to sell.”

Marine Engineers James Fisher and Sons plc make it 3 profit warnings in less than 12 months with this week’s announcement of a more cautious outlook. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: the company made pre-tax losses of (£52,500,000) in 2020 versus pre-pandemic year profits of £47,800,000.

Profits plummet at greeting card company IG Design Group plc - the Group now expects FY22 operating margins to be 175-225 basis points lower year on year resulting in full year earnings being significantly below current market expectations, with cost and supply chain headwinds continuing for an as yet unknown period. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “logistical problems within global supply chains, increased freight costs, raw material and labour inflation, as well as supply availability issues are now recurring themes when companies revise profit guidance downwards.”

London-listed specialist lender PCF Group PLC has warned on profits for a 3rd time confirming that a review of defaulted receivables has resulted in an additional impairment charge of £6 million. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “PCF issued a warning in March this year, stating that the restatement of profit for the year ended 30 September 2020 would not be more than £750,000, the guidance in September changed to greater than £750,000, before leaping to £6 million.”

Pure Planet Limited and its controlling entity Blue Marble Holdings Limited, controlled by BP, filed a Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator in the High Court today (18/10/2021). . Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette said: “some trade suppliers might have hoped that having household name owners/investors might have seen Pure Planet through the crisis, but  following BP's withdrawal of support, the directors would have had no choice but to cease trading.”

In a statement issued 12/10/21, ASOS Plc warns on profits over cost headwinds, including incremental inbound freight costs, Brexit duty annualisation, outbound delivery costs and labour cost inflation. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette said: “ASOS profit expectations will only serve to disappoint investors; there is no insolvency risk. However, soaring overheads just as government sponsored support measures come to an end and BBL/CBIL repayments commence will drive up retail insolvencies over the next 12 months.”

12th October 2021 Press Release from InfolinkGazette

Quarter 3 2021 total unsecured creditor losses are now back above pre-pandemic levels for the first time in 2021. During the 5-year period 2015 to 2019, total unsecured creditor losses averaged around £4 billion per quarter and InfolinkGazette are now reporting a 25% increase in the total losses reported by unsecured creditors in Q3 2021, compared to the pre-pandemic quarterly total loss run rate, which soared to £5.1 billion, more than double the mid-pandemic Q3 2021 total losses of £2.5 billion. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette said: “Insolvencies are already rising and based on current run rate, there are likely to be 23,000 corporate Liquidations and Administrations over the next 12 months; in August 2021 insolvencies were higher than August 2019 and if insolvencies can exceed the normal pre-pandemic run rate when we were still experiencing the benefit of government sponsored covid support measures, we can see we are in for a torrid time.” Greg added: “unsecured creditor losses generally rise with insolvencies and trade suppliers might want to check their trade credit insurance cover”.

IWG plc, formerly Regus, has allowed another two subsidiaries to file for Administration. Yesterday (09/10/21) both London One Kingdom Street East Centre Limited and London One Kingdom Street West Centre Limited filed notices of intention to appoint an administrator in the High Courts. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette said: “We’ve seen at least 14 IWG family tree members filing applications for Administration this year.”

International Currency Exchange Limited filed a Notice to appoint an administrator at the High Court on 05/10/2021. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette said: “Insolvencies are on the rise and likely to exceed 23,000 over the next 12 months; August 2021 insolvencies were higher than August 2019 and if insolvencies can exceed the normal pre-pandemic run rate when we were still experiencing the benefit of government sponsored covid support measures, we can see we are in for a torrid time.”

London listed construction company, NMCN plc filed a Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator today (04/10/21). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette said: “NMCN issued 4 profit warnings in the last 12 months, starting with a warning in October 2020, that the Company has undertaken a review all our major contracts and concluded that there would be a loss before tax of between £13.5 million and £15.0 million for the year.” Greg added: “that loss became £22 million before increasing to £24 million.”

Public transport operator Go-Ahead announced today (28/09/21) that the Department for Transport has taken back control of the Southeastern franchise. The board went on to explain that the loss of the franchise was as a consequence of ongoing discussions over the historical calculation by London and Southeastern Railway Limited of the profit share over a number of years, amounting to £25 million; the board will provide an update on further liabilities in its full-year results. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette said: “this looks like having been a very expensive accounting error that will adversely impact profits and will be extremely destructive of shareholder value.”

Another day, another energy supplier goes out of business - PFP Energy Limited filed an Application to appoint an administrator today (24/09/2021). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette said: “before we begin linking all of the energy company failures to the current crisis, its worth remembering most of them were loss making, uncapitalised, with poor liquidity, and were losing customers. PPF Energy were no exception”.

Power suppliers, People's Energy (Supply) Limited filed a Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator today (23/09/2021).

Renewable electricity supplier Utility Point Limited a notice to appoint an Administrator at HMCourts on 22/09/21. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette said: “there is a constantly shrinking pool of energy suppliers in the market, which is going to be bad for competition”.

On a bad day for airport car park operators, London Luton Airport Parking Limited, Group First Global Limited, Park First Freeholds Limited, Park First Limited, Help Me Park Gatwick Limited, Paypark Limited, Airport Parking Rentals (Gatwick) Limited, Help-Me-Park.Com Limited, Cophall Parking Gatwick Limited, Park First Management Limited, Park First Skyport Limited and Park First Glasgow Rentals Limited all submitted Applications in the High Court today 21/09/21 for Company Voluntary Arrangements. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette said: “with the furlough scheme terminating and Covid insolvency protection measures winding down from the end of September, insolvencies will rise sharply.”

Serviced accommodation operator Q International Limited and 4 of its subsidiaries filed Notices to appoint an administrator today (20/09/2021). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette said: “the group had availed of the Coronavirus Job retention scheme and also secured a long-term funding package under the government-backed CBIL scheme, but still looks to be heading for Administration.”

Championship club, The Derby County Football Club Limited filed a  Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator today (17/09/2021). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette said: “this is going to be painfully expensive for unsecured creditors”.

Community savings and loan provider Barrow & District Credit Limited made an application to appoint an administrator in the High Court today (16/09/2021). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette said: as payday lenders are either pulling out of the market, or circling the waggons in an attempt to stave off bankruptcy, the need for community lending has increased, but are Credit Unions operating an outdated financial model that has been seriously weakened by the pandemic?”

Old established construction contractor Henry W. Pollard & Sons Limited went in to liquidation owing £9,078,180 to 337 unsecured creditors. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, said: “Covid insolvency protection measure wind down from the end of September when creditors can start issuing winding up petitions for debts of more than £10,000, although landlords will still need to wait until March next year to pursue rent arrears.” Greg added: “we expected to see a steady increase in the number of CVLs from companies facing the threat of winding up, and an increase in numbers of CCJ’s because it is the only enforcement option open to landlords”.

London-listed City of London Group plc, a United Kingdom-based investment company point to a grim outlook – “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a material adverse effect on UK economic activity to date, and its influence is likely to be felt for some years. The immediate outlook for the UK economy and in particular the SME market is uncertain as the government withdraws economic assistance to business. Continuing pressure on SME businesses is likely to increase the risk of defaults and may deter capital investment by the sector, which could adversely affect the development of the Group's lending businesses. Uncertain growth prospects for the UK economy may also affect the ability of the Company to raise the capital necessary to deliver its strategy.

Power supply provider MONEYPLUS ENERGY LIMITED filed a Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator on Friday (11/09/2021). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “there will be many more small energy suppliers going out of business this winter as wholesale energy prices have turned against them and the October late payment deadline looms to hand over renewable energy subsidies.” Greg added: “consumers are protected by the Ofgem safety net, but it is a worrying time for trade suppliers”.

London-listed specialist lender PCF Group PLC warned on profits today (10/09/21) stating that the profit downgrade for the year ended 30/09/20 will be greater than previously anticipated. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “PCF issued a warning in March this year, stating that the restatement of profit before impairment of goodwill and tax for the year ended 30 September 2020 would not be more than £750,000, but is now anticipated to be greater than £750,000 and that they are unable to give fresh guidance as to the actual extent of any further reduction.”

PCF had said in March that it would make a number of adjustments to its fiscal 2020 accounts which would result in a net reduction of no more than GBP750,000 against its previously announced profit before impairment and tax of GBP3.9 million.

8th August 2021 Press Release from InfolinkGazette

Yorkshire-based Origin Broadband filed another Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator in the High Court today (07/09/2021), having previously filed on 23/08/2021. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “Clearly the directors were unable to clear all the hurdles and get the Administrator appointment over the line, which normally indicates a problem with creditors, shareholders or charge holders”. Greg added: “ The company is controlled by Faro Capital Ltd, who not surprisingly hold a fixed and floating charge.”

Raw material and labour price inflation are contributory factors in 15% of the last quarters profit warnings from UK Listed companies. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “Companies usually announce a profit warning ahead of an earnings announcement to soften the blow to investors; historically they have mentioned unexpected cyclical downturns resulting in poor performance, or a single challenging incident, either internal to the company like a logistics problem or an external event like Covid. However, raw material price increases and wage inflation are beginning to rival Covid as the reasons behind poor performance. Greg added: “We seem to have several key drivers of inflation firmly established in the economy: demand growing faster than supply; soaring energy cost; rising wages, which are sky rocketing in the logistics sector”.

During a profit warning the company might mention issues related to key growth drivers like sales and margins, its supply chain, new customers, and more. As with regular earnings reports, a profit warning can get into granular detail or can remain more general, noting only a few places in its financial statements where its performance could fall below what shareholders anticipate.

Directors and Shareholders of small companies continue to call time on their businesses at record levels as the number of England & Wales Members Voluntary Liquidations for the 12 months soars to 14,243 for the 12 months to 31/12/2021, up 24.7% for the same period last year and 71% on the same period ending 2019, in pre-pandemic times. Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “these are solvent companies that are able to meet all of their financial commitments and loan repayments but are unable to see a realistic future for their business. Greg added: “because these are solvent companies, the closures are not counted in the insolvency statistics published by the Insolvency Service, but they do demonstrate that business confidence is at a low ebb and these closures will adversely affect jobs and future tax revenues.”

Yorkshire-based Origin Broadband, launched in 2011, filed a Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator in the High Court today (23/08/201). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: “Origin are one of many smaller broadband providers that are competing with the big players like BT and Virgin Media, and racked up over £22 million of accumulated losses”.

Europe's biggest maker of retailer own brand household goods, McBride Plc issued a second profit warning today (18/08/2021) only a quarter on from the last profit warning, blaming exceptional price increases, supply availability and distribution challenges. As a consequence, the Board expects adjusted profit before tax for financial year 2022 to be 55% - 65% lower than current market consensus.

AIM listed manufacturer, Tricorn Group plc filed a Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator in the High Court today (19/08/2021). Greg Connell, Managing Director of InfolinkGazette, commented: "Tricorn issued numerous profit warnings over the last few years and in June 2021, warned on margins, due to pressure from price increases and labour productivity. The board also warned stakeholders that they couldn’t fund the investment required to return the Group to profitable cash generation from within the existing borrowing facilities.”

13th July 2021 Press Release from InfolinkGazette

The overall number of company insolvencies has remained lower than pre-pandemic levels since the start of the first UK lockdown in March 2020, with just 1,011 registered company insolvencies in May 2021, compared to historic pre-pandemic averages of around 1,500 per month. However, the May 2021 figure was 7% higher than in the same month in 2020, driven by a higher number of registered CVLs and Companies House have reported a surge in the number of company dissolutions in Q1 2021, up 25% on the same quarter in 2020 and 20% on the same quarter 2019.