SPS Print Group pre-packs after CVA fails

By Rhys Handley, Tuesday 21 November 2017

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Dorset-based POS specialist SPS Print Group has gone through a pre-pack administration and re-emerged as Specialist Print Services, following a failed company voluntary arrangement (CVA).

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SPS Print Group went into administration on 10 November after exiting a CVA

SPS Print Group appointed James Snowdon and John Dickinson of London-based Carter Backer Winter on 10 November as administrators. The company was aqcuired on the same day by Specialist Print Services, which was formed on 29 September, and shares two of the same directors as SPS, brothers James and Toby Martin.

SPS entered into a CVA last year, having been impacted by falling turnover since 2012. However, the catalyst for the CVA was SPS discovering in late 2015 that “human error” in the processing of the company’s accounts had obscured evidence of losses of around £1.8m as a result of double counting of turnover as it was converted from work in progress.

Following advice from Grant Thornton the Wimborne, Dorset-based business entered a CVA in March 2016. 

While delivering monthly CVA payments of £35,000, the administrators said that SPS continued to struggle with cashflow and had failed to win new contracts. A total of £480,000 had been paid to creditors prior to SPS exiting the CVA and approximately £2.8m was still owed to CVA creditors.

Over the 20 months of the CVA, 25 staff left the company through a mixture of resignations and redundancies. 125 staff remained at the business, which had sales of £12m over the past 12 months and runs large-format litho, screen and digital kit.

As well as James and Toby Martin, SPS senior managers Andrew Crowe and Nicholas Fitz-Gerald are also listed as Specialist Print Services directors, alongside a new director, Roy Parker, who has made a "significant investment in the firm", according to James Martin.

The pre-pack sale and the transfer of SPS' assets to Specialist Print Services was approved by the Pre Pack Pool on 2 November. 

“Moving forward with the CVA was becoming unsustainable so we made the hard decision to exit the arrangement,” said James Martin.

“We have spoken to all of our suppliers and all but three have continued to work with us through this process. We feel are doing the right thing by moving forward with new investment and without the weight of a CVA warding off new business.

“Our goal was always to make sure we protected our suppliers, customers, and employees.”

Martin also pointed to the involvement of Parker, who he said had owned and run a number of manufacturing businesses and had also won two Queen's Awards for industry.

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