Insolvency and Administration

House of Fraser Pre-Pack – Is It Such a Great Deal?

The acquisition of House of Fraser by Sports Direct is a typical “pre-pack” administration. In administration one minute, sold the next. The national media promptly welcomed it as the rescue of everyone’s favourite department store, the protection of 17,000 jobs and just what is needed to help save Britain’s High Streets. Mike Ashley of Sports Direct trumpeted this as a great deal. All the stores and stock were purchased for £90 million when gross assets were £946 million and the company made ...

Beaufort Administration, Intercede and the Mello Conference

Yesterday I attended the first day of the 2-day Mello investor conference in Derby. There were lots of good presentations and some interesting companies to talk to. One hot topic of conversation was the collapse of Beaufort which was forced into administration (see two previous blog posts on the topic for details). There are apparently many people affected by it. There are a number of major issues that have arisen here: The administrators (PWC) have suggested it might cost as much as ...

Conviviality Fire Sale

Conviviality (CVR) has now gone into administration, and the ordinary shares are probably worthless (they were suspended some days ago and are likely to remain so). The administrators have already sold the major parts of the business in “pre-pack” administration deals. That’s where arrangements are made to dispose of assets in advance of the appointment of administrators by the prospective administrators before they have in fact been appointed. Is that legal you may ask? Yes it is because of a past ...

Carillion and FRC investigation

I know that some members are taking a very active interest in what went wrong at Carillion. The email below from the FRC contains a link to a document which you may find both useful and interesting to support your own research and in helping to reach some initial conclusions. "From: FRC Sent: 29 January 2018 09:54 To: Various Subject: News Alert - Accounting and reporting framework for the construction and business support services sectors In the light of the collapse of Carillion, the Financial Reporting Council ...

Quindell and Carillion

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) have announced that they have fined audit firm Arrandco (formerly RSM Tenon) £750,000 and the Audit Partner Jeremy Filley £56,000 in relation to the audit of the financial statements of Quindell for the 2011 accounts. They also “reprimanded” both parties and Tenon had to pay £90,000 in costs. Both parties admitted liability. Two of their errors were a “failure to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence and failure to exercise sufficient professional scepticism”. In other words, quite ...

Carillion, EMIS and KPMG

Now that the dust has settled somewhat after the demise of Carillion (CLLN), it’s worth adding some more comments to my previous blog post on the subject. Ultimately it went bust for the same reason most companies do - it simply ran out of cash and could not pay its debts as they became due. As I said before, it collapsed eventually because of ballooning debt, poor cash collection and risky contracts. Unfortunately it seems that private investors were some of the ...

Carillion Goes Into Liquidation

Carillion (CLLN) has gone into liquidation. No messing about with “administration” - it’s gone straight into liquidation with a receiver being appointed. The Government may apparently take over direct responsibility for some of the contracts that Carillion operated to provide public services, but it is unclear what will happen to the commercial contracts. Up to 43,000 jobs are at risk. In addition, many other companies are at risk who acted as suppliers to Carillion because as trade creditors they are likely ...

Obituary – Steve Marshall

The Daily Telegraph ran a lengthy obituary on Steve Marshall today, who died recently at the young age of 60. It covered his financial career in a not particularly complimentary way although some might say he took on a lot of difficult positions. He first came to public prominence when he became CEO of Railtrack after Gerald Corbett was forced to resign, despite having minimal experience of the railway industry. Railtrack was part of the former British Rail that had been privatised ...

Obtaining Information on Frauds

One of the things that investors find frustrating is the failure of the regulatory authorities (FCA, SFO, the Police, LSE) to obtain information on the progress or results of investigations into the affairs of companies. For example, if a company and its shareholders are the clear victims of a fraud, often involving false accounting such as in Globo not so long ago and at BT only recently, then obtaining information about the matter is exceedingly difficult. If the company goes into Administration, ...

FCA Consultation on Changes to FSCS Scheme Compensation

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) pays out if you have lost money as a result of an authorised financial services firm going bust or otherwise being unable to pay compensation for various failings - for example a bank or stockbroker. The scheme is funded by a levy on services firms. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is currently undertaking a public consultation on changes to the scheme. At present there are limits to the protection FSCS provides which vary by financial product. ...
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