Spicers Office Team heads towards administration

Spicers Office Team (SPOT) appears increasingly likely to pre-pack in some form after the business confirmed it had filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators.

Spicers Office Team: industry suppliers fear they won't be paid
Spicers Office Team: industry suppliers fear they won't be paid

The move excludes ZenOffice and Spicers Ireland.

Last week it emerged that SPOT working with advisers to urgently find a buyer, with the board “exploring a number of options”.

According to a statement from chief executive Steve Horne, the group’s board has now “taken action to protect the business” in light of the financial position of the company and unpredictable trading.

The notice of intention to appoint administrators is for both Spicers and Office Team. Office Team is a nationwide distributor of stationery and office supplies, and its business services include print management. Spicers supplies and distributes office products and office furniture.

“The board continue to explore all options to ensure a satisfactory future for the business and secure as many jobs as possible. Whilst we continue to look for solutions, we are committed to support and supply our customers,” Horne stated.

“During this period we remain open for business and will continue to supply our customers with any products we have in stock. Where there is an impact on our supply chain and we cannot guarantee the supply of goods, we will continue to be proactive and help our customers source these products by providing details of our suppliers, where the order could be completed directly with them in the short term.”

Industry suppliers to the business have greeted the news with dismay.

One print supplier to the group commented: “My business is owed money and I've heard they owe some suppliers over £300k and even as much as £500k.

“Business is about relationships and working in partnership with each other. If you treat suppliers with disdain then don’t be surprised if people leave you high and dry when you need them most.”

SPOT had sales of £281m in its most recent accounts, for 2018. Restructuring and other costs resulted in a near-£26m operating loss. The business had around 1,440 employees at the time. 

This morning (29 April) SPOT’s owner Better Capital announced that it planned to hold an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) and was proposing to cancel its listing on the London Stock Exchange.

Its two funds were due to run until June 2021, but the Covid-19 situation has adversely affected its investments.

Better Capital said the pandemic has had a material effect on the remaining portfolio companies “which has made it very unlikely that the realisation of the assets can sensibly be achieved within the current durations of the funds.

"It is also the case that the considerable costs of maintaining the company's listed status are increasingly disproportionate to the value of the portfolios and that the Shares have limited trading liquidity on the main market.”


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