The end of the case is nigh!
This is a story of epic proportions, a case through the course of which many hurdles and much delay have been thrown into our path. The good news though is that, to date, 85p in the £ has been paid out to the unsecured creditors (preferential creditor having been paid in full) and we expect the final dividend to be well in excess of 90p in the £. It has taken some doing and no little tenacity. If you have the will, and are sitting comfortably, you may be interested in reading on... click here to do so
Alternative Energy Technology Limited - in creditors' voluntary liquidation
We are pleased to report that in the above creditors' voluntary liquidation we have recently made a distribution to unsecured creditors in excess of 34p in the £.
The Company was founded to utilise planned legislation offering incentives for the uptake of renewable energy technologies. Due to a change in legislation in 2011 there was a severe curtailing of the solar PV incentive tariff scheme offered by the government and a delay in the release of the domestic heating incentive scheme.
This factor decreased the number of customers willing to proceed with this technology thus, along with other factors, resulted in the Company entering into creditors' voluntary liquidation. However, we are pleased to report that we were able to exceed the anticipated asset recoveries resulting in a financially beneficial outcome and return to unsecured creditors.
Property Professionals + Limited (in Liquidation)
Update to creditors, December 2013:-
The joint liquidators advise that they are continuing to seek an appropriate offer of funding in order that the liquidation can be progressed and any potential actions arising from the joint liquidators' investigations can be taken forward. The joint liquidators are in correspondence with a number of parties with regard to funding and are attempting to secure the best possible offer for creditors in the liquidation. The joint liquidators will be reporting the offers of funding to the creditors committee in due course in order to seek their views on the same. Future progress with regard to the funding of the liquidation will be provided to the general body of creditors in subsequent updates. The joint liquidators advise that dividend prospects in this matter remain uncertain and any dividend is reliant on there being sufficient future asset realisations in the liquidation.
A R Limb & P J Windatt
Direct Machine Tool Services Limited
We are pleased to report that in the above creditors' voluntary liquidation we have recently made a distribution of approximately 25p in the £ to unsecured creditors. As insolvency practitioners, we strive to ensure the best return to all creditors and stakeholders at all times. However, the reality is that is often not possible due to the limited assets available within the insolvency appointment. This can, understandably, be difficult for creditors to appreciate. So, whilst we always strive to maximise the return to creditors, it is especially satisfying to make a significant return to the ordinary unsecured creditors such as in this instance and others like it.
Securing the best outcome for creditors
We are pleased to report that we have recently made a first and final distribution to the unsecured creditors in the voluntary liquidation of K.G. Wright (Builders) Ltd. The distribution was in excess of 31p in the £ to unsecured creditors, which came after payment in full to the secured creditor and payment in full of the preferential claims of employees. The company was a long established family run construction business in Kettering, Northants. The closure of a company of this type is particularly regrettable and comes as a hard loss to all concerned in the local community. However, we are pleased that, by working with the officers of the company, we were able to maximise asset recoveries beyond the expected to realise figures and secure the best possible outcome to all creditors, especially to the unsecured creditors who received a significant dividend.
This is all the more satisfying to us as a firm given that construction related insolvencies are a notoriously difficult sector within which to maximise recoveries and consequently often result in poor returns to creditors.
BRI in the Media
Alan Limb, from BRI's Southampton office, has continued to contribute to media reports on the Administration of Coventry City Football Club Limited. This has included keeping Les Reid of the Coventry Telegraph updated on the Insolvency aspects of this high profile story. You can read examples of Alan's contribution by following the links below to articles on the Coventry Telegraph website:
Also, Alan has been interviewed on numerous occasions by BBC Coventry & Warwickshire as the story has developed since March 2013. This has helped listeners understand a complex story with many twists and turns. The BBC have appreciated Alan's insight as an Insolvency Practitioner and Sky Blues supporter. After Alan's most recent contribution on air the presenter, Shane O'Connor, commented "you can hear the passion in his voice and the frustration".
Who wants to be a millionaire? We do!
When Camelot needed a volunteer to help promote the EuroMillions Millionaire Raffle they phoned a friend, Alan Limb from BRI's Southampton office. Alan lives on the Isle of Wight and his normal commute to work is via Red Funnel's Red Jet service from Cowes. However, in order to publicise the Millionaire Raffle (which gave the winner a prize of £1m per month for twelve months), Camelot decided to show how a Millionaire would commute to the office, enjoying breakfast upon a Fairline Phantom 40ft motor yacht.
Camelot enlisted the help of the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce to suggest some Chamber members who could live the dream, if only for the morning. Alan was happy to accept the invitation, along with Rajinder Sangha, Gemma Cook and Marie Hamar from Glanvilles Solicitors. They all cruised in style across the Solent before stepping back onto dry land outside BRI's office in Ocean Village, Southampton. Alan said, "It was a lovely experience to see how the other half live. I think I could get used to it! We were clearly convincing as Millionaires. When I stepped off the boat, somebody asked me how much I had won."
Alan, Rajinder, Gemma and Marie celebrate aboard the luxury yacht.
This article first appeared in the summer 2013 edition of RECOVERY and is reproduced with permission from R3 and GTI Media
View from the bridge: the JIEB examination
Peter Windatt and Alan Katz give an insight into what it takes to pass the JIEB.
Passing the JIEB examination is a very significant event in the career of anyone who, since the late 1980s, has wished to become a licensed insolvency practitioner. Many congratulations to those who have passed. This is not an easy examination, typically taken by candidates in their 30s who do not have recent experience of taking examinations and who, at that stage in their life, may also have substantial work and family commitments. Passing is a real achievement.
The board's expectations of candidates to achieve a pass are set out in the notes to candidates and syllabus, which we will not repeat here. However, we would emphasise the overall standard – to assess whether candidates have sufficient knowledge of insolvency law and practice to enable them to carry out the functions of an insolvency practitioner with an emphasis on practical application as well as knowledge of insolvency law and other relevant law and regulations.
Clearing the hurdle
In determining the pass standard, we are mindful that examination conditions do not equate with normal work conditions where practitioners may consult with colleagues, take advice or take more time to research and resolve an issue. We are also aware that the marginal candidate may be just sufficient rather than good or excellent, so we do not exclude candidates who may make adequate rather than high flying IPs. That said, because a pass clears a hurdle en route to securing a licence, we also have the weighty responsibility of not allowing through those who do not have sufficient knowledge and, importantly, the ability to apply their knowledge to practical situations. Essentially, at the margin, we are trying to assess whether it will be safe to allow a candidate through. What this means for candidates and their firms, is that they should ensure that their practical experience and pre-examination training takes them well clear of marginal territory – in other words to aim high having gained some practical experience and had good tuition across the syllabus. Obviously it is much safer for candidates, and makes easier the process of deciding which side of the line you fall, if you are not right on the margin.
Although the published pass marks are scaled* to 45 per cent, the underlying or 'raw' pass marks can and do vary between years, as does the pass rate. There is no fixed pass mark because it is not possible to set examinations that will be pass-worthy at exactly the same mark each year. There is no fixed pass rate because the clear policy of the board is to grant a pass to as many or as few candidates as merit a pass in each year. Pass mark setting is therefore ultimately a matter of judgment based on extensive review and moderation (re-marking) of scripts around a range of provisional pass marks. That said, the examining team aim to set the papers and marking plans such that the pass mark will be in the 40 to 50 per cent range – in other words reasonably close to the scaled pass mark.
Explaining differences in the pass rates between years is more difficult; these have ranged, as a percentage, in recent years between the 40s and the 70s. Historically they have been in the teens. Pass rates will depend on factors including the overall quality of the examination cohort including their relevant training and experience. What is striking, however, is that some sub-groups of the cohort – individual firms or recognised professional bodies (RPBs) – report consistently very high pass rates. This provides additional overall comfort to the board and the examination team each year that the setting and marking processes are reasonable and that the examinations are eminently passable by those who are adequately prepared and trained.
That said, we are not complacent and are constantly looking to improve our processes and procedures. Steps that we have taken in recent years to enhance the fairness of the process, and to help distinguish the marginal candidates, include all compulsory and equal mark questions (so that everyone is taking the same examination); adoption of a learning outcomes (practical and results oriented) syllabus; single question marking (to help eliminate inconsistencies); holistic marks (to provide two different assessments that can be considered separately and together); consultation and analysis of results with internal and external educational consultants; more extensive and consultative moderation procedures and oversight of the marking (a process that will be facilitated by the intended introduction of scanning scripts for electronic marking and oversight, over the course of the next two years). There has also been increased and more substantive contact between the board, examining team, insolvency firms and training providers, which is intended to improve understanding of the process and of the results themselves. The board welcomes any input from students and firms on how the process can be improved.
Peter Windatt is the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants' (ACCA) representative board member on the JIEB and the current chairman. He is the first chairman of the board to have qualified as an IP, sitting the JIE in 1992. Alan Katz is a Research Fellow in Insolvency at Lancaster University and is retired from general insolvency practice.
John William Rimmer and Peter John Windatt were appointed as Joint Liquidators of Ian Neale Construction Group Limited ("the Company") on 21 May 2013. Whilst the Company did not trade, it did operate as a holding company for a number of subsidiaries and owned the land and stadium situated at Triton Showers Community Arena, Liberty Way, Nuneaton. The Joint Liquidators are currently acting as landlords of the stadium which is leased to Nuneaton Town Football Club on a ten year lease of which eight years remain.
Fans, players and other stakeholders should not be unduly concerned as it is intended that the lease will continue to operate as normal and that there will be no evident change to Nuneaton Town Football Club. The Joint Liquidators' primary duty is to identify and realise assets for the benefit of creditors. In doing so, in the medium to long term, it is intended that the Joint Liquidators will look to sell the freehold of the land and stadium, with the existing lease to the Football Club remaining in place.
Interkey Services Limited
Great news for Corby - 17 jobs have been secured through the use of a Pre-Pack Administration of the company Interkey Services Limited – a manufacturer of bespoke architectural and other metal fabrications.
Following discussions with the major creditors a sale was concluded immediately upon the appointment of Joint Administrators from BRI Business Recovery and Insolvency in Northampton, thereby securing the future of the employees and the completion of the work in progress.
Joint Administrator Peter Windatt reported "Whilst there have been many adverse press pieces about the use of pre-packs I am delighted that a situation which would have resulted in loss of all jobs for this business and probably for others in their supply chain, and, in all likelihood, no return to creditors, had the company entered liquidation, has instead improved the chances of a partial recovery for the unsecured creditors as well as preventing there being any claims from employees – it has also preserved a customer for suppliers that now has the necessary capital behind it to give it and the workforce every chance of a strong future."
The business, which is to remain based at Princewood Road, has gained the backing of a previous satisfied customer. The new company is called Interkey Fabrications Limited and they are already up and running and looking for more clients to keep the workshops and everyone employed there fully utilised. Their address and telephone contact details are all as before.
Peter Windatt, Insolvency Practitioner and Director of BRI Business Recovery and Insolvency added, "I am delighted that we have found a way to preserve so many jobs. We wish the new owners, directors and their team every good wish for a bright and happy future".
Successful launch for BRI’s Island Networking Lunch event
33 professionals from the Isle of Wight’s accounting, legal, financial and business advisory communities attended the launch of a networking lunch event on 15 May 2013. The event, held at Lugleys in Newport, was organised by local insolvency practitioners BRI Business Recovery and Insolvency (“BRI”). It gave attendees the opportunity to meet up with professional contacts, old and new, whilst enjoying a delicious lunch.
BRI’s host and Island resident Alan Limb said, “From talking to our Island based contacts, we recognised that they would welcome the opportunity to attend a networking event to which all the Island’s business professionals could be invited. We are delighted that the event was well received by all attendees. Their feedback is that they enjoyed the friendly atmosphere and the chance to develop valuable business contacts for the future.”
“We plan to hold the event four times each year with the next lunch scheduled for 11 September 2013. We hope that it will be equally well supported and enjoyed by all.”