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The great escape: How a case of crises management won our business rescue award

Next month the formerly known Insolvency & Rescue (I&R) Awards will re-emerge as the re-branded Turnaround, Restructuring and Insolvency (TRI) Awards. Content writer, Amber-Ainsley Pritchard, digs out one of last year’s most exceptional winners to highlight the importance of this event.

Amber-Ainsley Pritchard
Content writer, Credit Strategy and Insolvency News

When companies, individuals and teams win awards at any of our events, most of the audience is unaware of the backbreaking and often pioneering work that secures a winning spot.

Guests may wonder how and why our independent judging panels (in place for all our award schemes), decide that one entry is so overtly impressive; it deserves recognition above all others.

That’s particularly true of our TRI Awards scheme – formerly the Insolvency & Rescue (I&R) Awards.

But throughout the event’s nine-year history, we’ve never documented the fascinating details of winning entries. This year, we’re changing that.

We’ve started by choosing one of the truly outstanding winning entries from last year.

In 2015 KPMG won the category: Business Rescue of Year- up to £20m turnover.

Due to commercial sensitivity the recovered business wished to remain anonymous and will be referred to here as ‘Business A’.

KPMG pulled out all the stops to save crisis-stricken ‘Business A’ from going under.

The second generation family-run business was at risk of watching years of hard work, blood, sweat and tears slip through their fingers.

More than 100 employees were at risk of losing their jobs, millions of pounds of tax would have been pumped into the government’s buckets of debt.

But, with the help of KPMG this nightmare turned fairy-tale became the success story of the year.

During the time spent restoring ‘Business A’ for operation it successfully traded through a period when no less than six government agencies took enforcement and action against the project.

These included the Environment Agency, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Health and Safety Executive and several reviews from a well-known high street bank.

A series of unfortunate events

‘Business A’ create a range of recycled wood-based products and won a contract in 2011 with E.on to supply wood into a new biomass plant set to be commissioned in early 2014.

E.on suffered delays but the business continued to take landfill wood on site and two fires broke out.

The Environment Agency instructed the fire brigade to use millions of gallons of water to extinguish them which caused water to run over into acid-filled lagoons.

‘Business A’ was forced by the Environment Agency to spend £20,000 a day to pay for the transfer of the lagoon water to an effluent works in Leeds.

The biomass plant was eventually commissioned and granted ‘Business A’ a £40,000 loan to cover wages and critical payments whilst the plant was being set up.

The rescue

Amid all this, KPMG had to manage the relationship with the Crown.

Although the Environment Agency had agreed to keep the site open, ‘Business A’ did not generate any cash and eventually built up HMRC arrears which resulted in a winding up petition for £1.1m.

While operating under this threat from HMRC, KPMG managed the payment of more than £1m of tax arrears.

KPMG then agreed a repayment plan with HMRC stating that if just one payment was missed – there would be an automatic winding up hearing, advertisement and insolvency.

Finally, in March 2015, after three months of supplying the E.on plant at full capacity, HMRC was repaid its last instalment and the winding up petition was lifted.

Somehow, KPMG also restored shareholder value from zero to more than £10m.

This year’s TRI Awards will take place at the London Hilton, Park Lane, October 19. To book one of the few tables left, call 020 7940 4848.

Posted on 14th September 2016 by Marcel LeGouais

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