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Insolvency Round-up

Phil Farrelly

The latest Insolvency statistics

The latest insolvency stats have just been released by the Insolvency Service and it comes as no surprise to see the figures for the past  nine months have been historically low- about 40% lower than normal-  as companies continue to benefit from the Government support measures and the temporary restrictions on the ability to issue statutory demands and winding up petitions.

The rise in corporate (but not personal) insolvencies in the month of December 2020 did come as a bit of a surprise. There were a total of 1,228 registered company insolvencies, which comprised of:

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Bermans Insolvency and Financial Rescue team

L-R Martin March, Phil Farrelly and James Whittaker

L-R Martin March, Phil Farrelly and James Whittaker

As we head into 2021 and the inevitable restructure of the economy as we (hopefully) return to some sort of normality, we thought it would be useful to share details about the depth of experience in our Insolvency team and to share some of their experiences during the lockdown.

Partner and Head of Insolvency, Phil Farrelly, will be known to many of you and has been with Bermans since 2005.  He is a familiar face on the North West legal scene and has extensive experience of acting for insolvency practitioners, ABL and other lenders and directors in all aspects of corporate insolvency.

The team has recently been strengthened with the arrival of two experienced insolvency solicitors.

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Welcome news for commercial tenants but not for landlords

Michael Smeaton

The moratorium on evictions for tenants who are behind on their rent has been extended until the end of 2020. The restriction was set to be lifted on 30th September 2020 but the secretary of state for housing, Robert Jenrick, announced an extension to give struggling retailers and other businesses a chance to “focus on rebuilding their business over the autumn and Christmas period”.

The June quarter day saw less than 20% rental payments made and with the next rent quarter day having just passed (29th September 2020) landlords will be bracing themselves for more of the same.

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All Change in Corporate Insolvency?

Phil Farrelly

The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (CIGA) became law on 26 June 2020. It contains some temporary provisions required as a result of COVID-19 and some permanent provisions that have been in the offing for a while which will make sweeping changes to the current insolvency rules.

The Temporary Provisions

The temporary provisions are aimed at providing businesses with some relief from problems created by the current COVID-19 pandemic including the temporary suspension of wrongful trading laws and the prohibition of the use of statutory demands and winding up petitions.

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Is this the calm before the storm for business?

Phil Farrelly

Is this the calm before the storm for business?

At the start of the COVID 19 pandemic many were predicting that this could be the busiest time ever for insolvency professionals. Early indications seemed to indicate this with many insolvency practitioners  and lawyers experiencing an initial manic period of providing (often free) telephone advice, but most companies now appear to be hunkered down waiting for the lockdown to finish and surviving by utilising the rescue packages created by the Treasury.

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Bermans bolsters its restructuring team with key lateral hires

L-R Martin March, Phil Farrelly and James Whittaker

L-R Martin March, Phil Farrelly and James Whittaker

North West commercial law firm Bermans, which is celebrating its 50th year in business, has made two key appointments to its busy restructuring team. The team, led by Phil Farrelly, welcomed Martin March as a partner and James Whittaker as a Senior Associate.

Martin has more than 20 years’ experience working in the insolvency and restructuring arena and joins the firm from Knights Plc. A well know face across the North West, Martin focuses on transactional and advisory work, acting for business owners, insolvency practitioners and other professionals in relation to business restructuring. He has been involved in a number of high-profile property related insolvencies involving distressed “investor funded developments”. His focus at Bermans will be on corporate transactions particularly property related insolvencies.

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Bermans advise Administrators of Bolton Whites Hotel Limited

The Manchester insolvency team at Bermans advised Andy Hosking, Sean Bucknell and Michael Kiely of Quantuma LLP as Administrators of Bolton Whites Hotel Limited.

The Hotel was a subsidiary of Bolton Wanderers Football Club and operated a 125 bed, 4- star hotel, from premises in the South Stand of Bolton’s Stadium. It provided conference, banqueting and leisure facilities and match day hospitality for the football club from a number of function suites and hospitality areas around the stadium.

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Rights of Subcontractors

Tnick_harveyhe rush hour commute into Manchester City Centre ground to a halt one morning last month as a disgruntled subcontractor chose to block one of the key routes with plant hire vehicles. The protest was against of non-payment by Dawnus Construction, the main contractor appointed by Manchester City Council to carry of a £15 million road improvement scheme in Manchester and Salford.

The subcontractor, Total Plant Hire (TPL), had supplied plant and machinery to Dawnus for the scheme. When Dawnus failed to pay under the terms of the contract and TPL couldn’t get through to anyone at Dawnus or the Council it took drastic action. Sadly the action was in vain as Dawnus entered Administration that same week. TPL was said to be owed £300,000 by Dawnus. So what can TPL do to recover its money?

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Insolvency News: Phoenix Company regulation with teeth?

philip_farrelly

The Neuberg family operated a business producing light metal products and traded under the name Neuberg Metal Spinners for many years. In 1998 a company operated by Mr Neuberg called Neuberg Metal Spinners Limited went into liquidation. Despite this, the family business continued to trade under the name Neuberg Metals but through a new company, Watergate Services Limited, of which Mrs Neuberg was the sole director and secretary.

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