Print manager forced into CVA by C-19

Jo Francis
Wednesday, October 28, 2020

A specialist print management business is now operating under a CVA after the Covid-19 pandemic caused a catastrophic drop-off in work.

Jellyfish: key clients included travel, sport and leisure businesses
Jellyfish: key clients included travel, sport and leisure businesses

Creditors of Jellyfish Solutions approved the CVA (Company Voluntary Arrangement) proposal last month.

Jellyfish is based in Fair Oak, Hampshire. Its services include print management for book publishers alongside commercial print products such as brochures, guides and flyers. It also offers consulting services.

The business is run by husband and wife team Richard and Amanda Ankers.

The proposal stated that unsecured creditors would be likely to receive a more than ten-fold better return if the CVA was approved, than if the business was liquidated.

Creditors have agreed to the deal that should see them receive 37.42p in the £ over three years, compared to an estimated 3.22p should the business have gone into administration.

Insolvency practitioners Andrew Andronikou and Michael Kiely of Quantuma are the joint supervisors of the CVA.

Jellyfish was founded nearly 15 years ago, originally with backing from Ashford Colour Press, where the Ankers had both worked.

The duo acquired the business outright in 2014, with sales growing to an average of £3.4m over the years.

The firm had been on track to achieve sales of £3.95m in the year to March 2020.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic “decimated” sales, with client spending on hold and some of its biggest customers in travel, sport and leisure canning their promo plans altogether.

Monthly sales that had typically been more than £350,000 collapsed to less than £20,000, Richard Ankers said.

Jellyfish had also been in the process of acquiring another print management business with circa £1m in sales, just as the pandemic struck.

Ankers told Printweek: “It was horrendous. 15 years of work wiped out by Covid-19 and everything came to a grinding halt.

“It’s a sad situation but completely out of our hands and unavoidable. The reason for the CVA is that we do believe in the business. We would not have had all those years of trading if we weren’t a viable business,” he stated.

He said that the vast majority of the firm’s print suppliers, bar one overseas printer, had backed the CVA plan.

Trade creditors are owed just over £1.3m and the business has a total deficiency of £1.4m

Ankers said that the firm’s clients had also been “very supportive and understanding”.

“They realise we are trying our level best to get back on track,” he added. 

Jellyfish had previously employed between seven-and-eight staff, but is currently operating with a skeleton staff of three.

The directors also took out a £350,000 CBILS loan via Santander to help tide the firm over, giving personal guarantees to secure the loan.

The first monthly payment of £10,000 under the CVA arrangement is scheduled for January 2021.

The directors have projected that, by the end of the financial year ending July 2023, sales will have recovered and grown to more than £5m.

The firm works with a raft of UK print suppliers. None contacted by Printweek had commented at the time of writing.

Note: Jellyfish Livewire Ltd based in Cadnam near Southampton is not connected in any way to Jellyfish Solutions Ltd.

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