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VIEWPOINT: Administration across the full spectrum 18 July 2013

Gordon Brothers Europe’s new valuation and corporate recovery team can value, dispose of and invest in all assets classes, offering clients an unrivalled service

It’s been well publicised that Gordon Brothers Europe recently acquired the Blockbuster brand in the UK and Channel Islands, taking on 264 stores and saving more than 2,000 jobs. Now in addition to their well-known retail expertise, they have added a valuation and corporate recovery team which can provide the lending, turnaround, restructuring and corporate recovery markets with over-reaching asset valuations, asset disposition and investment solutions, all under one roof.

Gordon Brothers Group, established 110 years ago, boasts a global network of individuals with extensive knowledge in the retail, commercial and industrial sectors. It conducts in excess of £30 billion worth of transactions annually in North America, Europe and Asia, with principal offices in Boston, New York, Atlanta, London, Manchester, Cologne and Tokyo. It truly does create value where others see none across the globe.

The European platform of Gordon Brothers has been offering disposition and restructuring expertise into the retail market for many years and its notable successes include Jessops, Index, Woolworths, Entertainment UK and Clerys, the long-established department store on Dublin’s O’Connell Street, acquired in 2012. Indeed, its most recent retail success has been advising the administrators of the ailing fashion chain Republic, which resulted in a 2.5 times increase in sales, allowing the administrators to focus on their search for a buyer.

Team spirit

In January of this year, Gordon Brothers Europe formed a new valuation and corporate recovery team to offer the full range of valuation and disposition services to both the asset-based lending and corporate recovery markets. The initial six-strong team is headed up by Gary Quaife, who has more than 25 years’ experience in the asset-based lending market, both as a lender and a valuer.

“As a team and an entity, whether you are an asset-based lender, insolvency practitioner, turnaround specialist or private equity house, we have the ability to value, dispose of and uniquely invest in all assets classes in Europe and beyond,” says Quaife.

“We can act for our clients and also stand alongside them, if they require it, from a funding point of view, to achieve their ultimate goals. We are prepared to underwrite our valuations and back our views with financial investment if the situation arises. This is a massive unique selling proposition and, we believe, is a service which is unrivalled in the market place.”

Joining Quaife are five other seasoned professionals, including Neal Weekes and Hugh Dorins. Weekes brings 30 years of experience in the valuation and disposal of tangible assets, while Dorins brings a similar wealth of knowledge in all matters relating to property.

“We cover the complete spectrum of assets, from property, machinery, equipment and inventory to accounts receivable and brands,” says Weekes.
Quaife adds “Our ability to offer a funding facility if the situation is right and do it very quickly should the need arise, allows the client to maximise the value of those assets, whether it be by taking full control of those assets or the business as a whole.”

Since joining, the new team have not only been working with Gordon Brothers Europe’s existing client base, many of whom they already knew, but also forging new relationships. “We have been involved in 30 significant engagements so far this year for clients including RBS Invoice Finance, PNC Business Credit, Burdale Financial, Deloitte, KPMG, Ernst & Young, Duff & Phelps and FRP Advisory,” says Quaife.

“We bring local market expertise to a situation, but in the knowledge it is backed by the global Gordon Brothers resource.”
Currently Gordon Brothers Europe in the UK operates out of offices in London and Manchester, but it has the intention to expand in the next couple of years with offices planned to be opening in key regional cities such as Birmingham, Bristol and Leeds.

Adapting to demand

It is clear that in recent years the corporate recovery world has changed significantly. Accountants are no longer solely seen as insolvency practitioners but also as restructuring advisers. They have had to adapt to demands from their clients and provide solutions rather than “traditional” exits.

Gordon Brothers Europe’s adaptability to each individual engagement and working with a similar mentality has been a key factor in the successful start enjoyed by the valuation and corporate recovery team so far.

Quaife concludes “We have been well received in the market place and have received some very positive comments in relation to our offering. They appreciate we are not in competition with them, and are there not only to advise, but provide comfort by standing by what we say.
In short, we offer outcomes with certainty”.

Case Study: WTB Trading Limited (formerly Burdens Limited)

Using its extensive knowledge and expertise, Gordon Brothers Europe was able to deliver fast and effective asset valuation, disposition and funding services to Duff & Phelps, allowing the administrator to trade the business, while exploring all avenues to either find a buyer for the business in total, or as individual depots, maximising the return for the unsecured creditors.

  • WT Burdens Group was first established in Birmingham in 1929 and was a national supplier of industrial building materials to the utilities sector. The company had grown to 35 branches across the country, with myriad associated businesses. Following a difficult trading period, with competitive pressures and a slow economy, Duff & Phelps was appointed as administrator to the company in November 2012.
  • Duff & Phelps, a long established client of Gordon Brothers Europe, approached Gordon Brothers’ valuation and corporate recovery team to provide asset valuation and disposition advice. Prior to Duff & Phelps’ appointment, elements of WT Burdens’ trading business had been sold to Wolseley PLC. Duff & Phelps appointed Gordon Brothers to value and dispose of the remaining assets, including inventory, property and various tangible and intangible assets.
  • Along with the disposition advice and services that were needed to maximise the return for creditors, Duff & Phelps also required funding for the administration, to allow them to continue trading the business, giving them the time and opportunity to identify potential buyers.
  • Once appointed the Gordon Brothers team got to work. They provided Duff & Phelps with the finance facility required within the timescale and visited each of the locations, assessing the quantum and value of each asset class. The Gordon Brothers team assisted Duff & Phelps with their negotiations in the sale of several depots and then managed the disposition process for the remaining assets.
  • Working with the administrator, Gordon Brothers Europe successfully assisted in the sale of eight depots and carried out a structured closure and disposition of all assets at four depots. The team completed the valuation and sale of several freehold and leasehold properties while providing advice in respect of the trading activities of many of the subsidiary companies, into which funding facilities were provided.
  • In appointing Gordon Brothers Europe, Duff & Phelps could be confident in what it would deliver. The expertise and local knowledge the team has in providing accurate asset valuations, gave it the ability to comfortably lend against the assets. The transaction was turned around extremely quickly and Gordon Brothers was able to put in place a funding line of £2.5m within a two week period.
  • The Burdens transaction is an excellent example of the complete offering from Gordon Brothers Europe. The ability to value and dispose of all asset classes, while providing appropriate funding, worked smoothly and effectively for the administrator, providing it with certainty of value and outcome.

This was a successful and well executed transaction, made possible because of our local knowledge, experience and operational resource.

For further information:

Gary Quaife – Managing Director, Valuation & Corporate Recovery
T: +44 (0)20 7647 5140
M: +44 (0)7918 739 378
E: g.quaife@gordonbrotherseurope.com

Neal Weekes – Director, Valuation & Corporate Recovery
T: +44 (0)20 7647 5131
M: +44 (0)7836 226 670
E: n.weekes@gordonbrotherseurope.com

 

 

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