Tactical Solutions: holdco admin prompts sale

Field marketing agency Tactical Solutions is being put up for sale because its owner, also the former owner of SP Group and Service Graphics, has gone into administration.

Selmerbridge Print Vehicles went into administration over the summer. The firm’s sole director is Landry Kouakou. The business was previously known as Selmerbridge, and prior to that Aylesford Group and Aylesland-Aylesford International. An earlier failed takeover venture connected to Kouakou, Aylesford Newsprint, went bust in 2015.

Kouakou acquired the SP Group, Service Graphics and Tactical Solutions businesses from St Ives in March 2018, in a £6m deal. St Ives has since been renamed Kin + Carta.

Both SP and Service Graphics subsequently went into administration leaving a huge amount of debt. SP shut down, while Paragon Group acquired the Service Graphics name and rescued some of its operations.

In a report to creditors, Allan Graham and Matthew Ingram of Duff & Phelps, the joint administrators of Selmerbridge Print Vehicles (SPV), stated that the collapse of the two print businesses “had an adverse impact on the cashflow of SPV as it was no longer in a position to receive management fees from SP Group or Service Graphics”.

SPV had obligations connected to fleet vehicles for the group, as well as insurance and professional fees. It also became liable for cross-guarantees provided to secured creditor Sitara Finance, which is owed just over £2m.  

SPV owns 100% of the issued share capital of Flintshire-headquartered Tactical Solutions. The joint administrators said they had been working with Kouakou and Tactical’s senior management team to produce an information memorandum for the sale of the business, and had identified a list of potential purchasers including trade and financial buyers.

The administrators also emphasised that there was no urgency to achieve a sale, and stated: “The joint administrators wish to clarify that the opportunity to acquire the share capital of Tactical Solutions does not represent a distressed opportunity… Tactical Solutions is not reliant on the rest of the group for working capital and as such there is no immediate urgency or deadline to conclude a sale of the shares.”

In a statement clarifying the position, the administrators said: “We are not currently marketing Selmerbridge Print Vehicles’ ownership share of Tactical Solutions for sale, and are not actively engaged with any parties regarding the sale of the shares. The business continues to operate as normal.”

A spokeswoman at Tactical Solutions said it was “business as usual” and they were unable to comment on the sale plans.

In its most recently-available accounts, to 31 July 2017, Tactical Solutions had sales of £7.9m and made an operating loss of £113k. The firm's 2018 accounts are yet to be filed because the accounting period was extended until 31 December 2018.

St Ives acquired the Tactical Solutions business in February 2011 in a deal worth up to £24m. At the time it had sales of £11.5m and an EBITDA margin of more than 24%.

The firm’s services include point-of-sale implementation, promotion compliance, merchandising and retail audits. 

Non-preferential unsecured creditors of SPV are owed more than £8.2m. This includes £1m owed to Kin + Carta, and more than £6m owed to Service Graphics and SP Group. Tactical Solutions is due nearly £800k. Vehicle leasing specialist ALD Automotive is owed £250k, according to the report.

The balance sheet deficit is nearly £9.3m.