Securing multiple sites when a company goes into administration

Restaurant goes into administration

The cur­rent coro­n­avirus cri­sis has not only cre­at­ed a land­scape of tem­porar­i­ly vacat­ed com­mer­cial prop­er­ties, but has also has­tened the tidal-wave of insol­ven­cies and busi­ness­es that had been on the verge of going into admin­is­tra­tion due to the impact of chang­ing con­sumer habits.

In the past few weeks a swathe of well-known names have gone into admin­is­tra­tion — retail­ers Deben­hams, Kath Kid­ston, Lau­ra Ash­ley, Bön Marche and Odd­bins – with restau­rant chains Carluccio’s, The Restau­rant Group (includ­ing Chiq­ui­to) and Mar­tin Hix’s group (just yes­ter­day) following. 

The hos­pi­tal­i­ty and retail sec­tors have been par­tic­u­lar­ly bad­ly hit” says David Wormald, key accounts man­ag­er for spe­cial­ist secu­ri­ty com­pa­ny VPS’ Hos­pi­tal­i­ty and Retail sec­tor. They’ve tak­en a triple wham­my from the impact of the inter­net, increased com­pe­ti­tion from super­mar­kets, and now, cru­cial­ly, at the worst pos­si­ble moment, the pandemic.” 

But what hap­pens behind the scenes when a com­pa­ny calls in the administrators? 

Under the Insol­ven­cy Act, 1986, an admin­is­tra­tor has spe­cif­ic duties and respon­si­bil­i­ties to cred­i­tors, and in the first instance will take con­trol of a trou­bled com­pa­ny with a view to busi­ness res­cue. They have a duty to act in the best inter­ests of cred­i­tors as a whole, and will attempt to realise the high­est returns for all groups if res­cue is not pos­si­ble. If this also fails, they must attempt to achieve a bet­ter result for cred­i­tors than if the com­pa­ny had been liquidated.

We may get a call from an insol­ven­cy prac­ti­tion­er who says they have 300 stores across the UK that need secur­ing, or that have goods or valu­ables inside that need to be removed.” Mr Wormald explains. And of course they want it, need it, done yes­ter­day. Some while back we had a par­cel couri­er com­pa­ny that unbe­liev­ably went bust lit­er­al­ly on Christ­mas Eve. They still had 30,000 Christ­mas parcels stuck in their depots, and on Decem­ber 30th we were asked to secure all 51 of them, stretch­ing from Aberdeen to Southamp­ton, simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. We man­aged to com­plete it with­in 24 hours, the last depot about 7pm on New Year’s Eve.” 

More recent­ly, the com­pa­ny han­dled the demise of Thomas Cook, a far larg­er busi­ness, with 557 shops closed overnight, and again a swift response was required for sev­er­al tasks. These com­prised key man­age­ment for all 557 stores with­in 48 hours of receiv­ing the instruc­tion, escort­ed access for a spe­cial­ist data secu­ri­ty removal firm, and the removal and secu­ri­ty of for­eign cur­ren­cy and oth­er valu­able assets. 

Mr Wormald con­clud­ed When a com­pa­ny goes out of busi­ness, peo­ple lose their jobs, and that impacts on their fam­i­lies bad­ly. If they haven’t had notice of the clo­sure, we often see their fam­i­ly pho­tos still left on their desks or stuck on the walls, and it real­ly brings home the mes­sage that behind every busi­ness col­lapse there are hun­dreds of per­son­al sto­ries. I would class these types of jobs as not pleas­ant but nec­es­sary’. Any­thing that can help sal­vage the busi­ness, whether for staff, cus­tomers or sup­pli­ers, must be done.” 

VPS have issued a case study that out­lines their expe­ri­ence of the Thomas Cook insol­ven­cy, which can be read here: Thomas Cook: A com­plex oper­a­tion

#insol­ven­cies #bank­rupt­cy #secur­ing­prop­er­ty #pro­tect­ing assets


What hap­pened when the par­cel couri­er that went bust on Christ­mas Eve can be read here.

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VPS is a spe­cial­ist provider of vacant prop­er­ty, occu­pied premis­es and site secu­ri­ty solutions.

In 2019 they were nom­i­nat­ed for the fifth suc­ces­sive year in the IFSEC Secu­ri­ty and Fire Excel­lence Awards, for Cus­tomer Care and Secu­ri­ty Installer of the Year. 

Oper­at­ing from over 50 loca­tions across UK and Europe, they pro­tect over 50,000 prop­er­ties and sites at any time.