According to reports from administrators Hunter Kelly and Charles King at EY, Spicers Ltd owed creditors £44.5m at the time of administration, while OfficeTeam Ltd owed creditors just over £37m. However, both figures include £17.15m owed to Lloyds Bank Commercial Finance, which is subject to cross-guarantees.
The SPOT directors had not submitted a statement of affairs at the time EY drew up its report.
Paper and envelope suppliers are among the companies’ biggest creditors, with North American manufacturer Domtar owed just over £1.2m by OfficeTeam, and £650,904 by Spicers.
Some of the office supplies and stationery group’s stock may be subject to retention of title.
A raft of printing companies, from SMEs to large web offset printers and specialist suppliers, are also listed among the creditors.
Amounts owed span five- and six-figure sums, with own-brand divider and file manufacturer Plastoreg Schmidt listed as being owed £983,878 by Spicers.
EY also detailed the accelerated marketing process for the businesses that began at the end of March.
"Against a background of continuing losses, the need for investment and the impact Covid-19 had on the business, it was concluded in late March that the group should be marketed for sale to find a partner with the ability to invest in the business," the administrators said.
This resulted in four potential offers, none of which came to fruition (see below).
SPOT’s management, together with owner Better Capital, also looked at making an offer for the business and assets of OfficeTeam and Zen under the codename ‘Project Gloria’.
A proposal was submitted on 21 April.
“Following detailed discussions and the subsequent interest expressed by Paragon, the Project Gloria offer was withdrawn on 5 May,” EY said.
On 14 May Spicers Ltd went into administration and Paragon Data Analytics (subsequently renamed OT Group) acquired the Spicers assets in a pre-pack deal for £996,021, comprising the Five Star trademark (£50,000), Spicers stock (£821,021) and Spicers mezzanine and racking (£125,000).
OT group will also collect the trade debtors book for a fee.
On the same day OfficeTeam Ltd also went into administration. Paragon paid £1,003,979 for the OfficeTeam assets, also in a pre-pack, with the major elements comprising stock (£483,973), IT (£375,000), shares in Stat Company (£100,000) and plant and equipment (£45,000).
Goodwill and customers contracts were purchased for £1 each.
OT Group will also collect OfficeTeam debtors for a fee.
Paragon Group has confirmed it was not one of the four confidential parties that made offers prior to SPOT’s administration.
At the end of last month Paragon also acquired the Spicers Ireland business. No further details of that transaction were available at the time of writing.