Hawthornes of Nottingham headed for liquidation

Simon Nias
Monday, September 17, 2012

Hawthornes of Nottingham looks set for liquidation after a meeting of creditors was scheduled for 24 September by KPMG following instruction from the company's directors.

A letter from KPMG director Chris Pole - a copy of which has been seen by PrintWeek - was sent to Hawthornes' creditors last week to schedule the meeting for 11am on 24 September at KPMG's Park Row office in Nottingham.

According to the letter, the directors of the 117-year-old printer "having regard to its financial position" decided to commence proceedings to place the company into creditors' voluntary liquidation.

Hawthornes production director Tony Fellows, who was promoted to the board in August 2010, told PrintWeek that the company would release a statement through KPMG following the meeting of creditors but would not otherwise comment.

According to its latest filed accounts for the year ended 31 March 2011, Hawthornes made a pre-tax loss of £119,210 on turnover of £6.9m, compared with a pre-tax loss of £105,155 on turnover of £7.2m in 2010.

Excluding exceptional items and other one-off charges, the group's pre-tax loss £20,012.

Net debt at the 31 March 2011 stood at £1.7m (2010: £2m) and interest payments of £147,538 in 2011 and £154,662 in 2010 were a significant factor in the group's annual losses for the past two years.

According to the directors' report, Hawthornes was scheduled to repay a further £500,000 of debt in 2011/12, following the end of a 12 month capital repayment holiday in October 2010.

The independent auditor's report to the group's 2010/11 accounts questioned the company's ability to continue as a going concern and highlighted its £112,210 net loss for the year and the fact that it had net current liabilities of £849,930 at 31 March 2011.

"The current economic conditions do create a fundamental uncertainty over whether the level of demand will continue for the company's products and services," wrote Richard Wilson of PKF in the auditor's report.

"In addition, the company has produced forecasts to June 2012 which assume that the company's bank facilities will remain in place throughout the forecast period under the current arrangements.

"The directors have written confirmation that the bank is supportive of the business for the period to June 2012, subject to quarterly reviews of all facility arrangements, where the last review was on 1 July 2011.

"These conditions...indicate the existence of a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern."

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