Paton Brown pre-packs as CVA fails

By Rhys Handley, Friday 12 April 2019

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Paton Brown has gone into administration as it was unable to continue fulfilling an ongoing company voluntary arrangement (CVA) without entering insolvency.

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Paton Brown's business and assets have been sold to PB Fulfilment in Stockport

The Ashton-under-Lyne direct mail outfit appointed Gary Lee and Dean Watson of Begbies Traynor as administrators for the business on 27 March and a pre-packaged sale saw the business, assets and seven Paton employees transfer to the ownership of PB Fulfilment.

PB Fulfilment, registered in Stockport, was incorporated on 27 February and lists its directors as former Paton director Charlotte Cooper, as well as Deborah Strong.

Paton entered its CVA in December 2015, agreeing to pay around £289,000 to its creditors and HMRC in monthly instalments over the course of five years following. The arrangement came about when Cooper inherited the company from her father Ian Cooper following his death in 2014.

In July last year, businessman Kevin Griffin acquired Paton in a deal that saw it run in conjunction with various businesses under his Acrobat group, which comprises fellow direct mail operation Acrobat Marketing Solutions and Acrobat Carbon Services, which itself was placed into administration under FRP Advisory in February.

Due to the administration of Acrobat Carbon, Paton was “unable to settle an intercompany liability and as such had to consider all available restructuring options”, according to a spokesperson at Begbies Traynor.

The spokesperson said: “As the company was already three years into a five-year CVA, it wasn’t possible to restructure the finances outside of a formal insolvency procedure.

“Begbies Traynor was formally appointed as administrators on 27 March and a sale of the business and assets as a going concern was completed to PB Fulfilment the same day.

“The transfer of the business and assets as part of a pre-pack deal will safeguard the jobs of all seven employees and allow the purchaser to provide continuity to customers and suppliers.”

When the two companies shared a site in Manchester, Paton Brown and Acrobat Marketing Solutions jointly ran equipment including folding and inserting machines, mailing and polywrapping lines, and four Xerox digital printers, a mix of colour and mono, with a fifth now on order. The combined workforce comprised 65 staff.

Reporting in July, PrintWeek was unable to identify which staff and equipment came under the purview of either company. The most recent Paton accounts do not disclose the number of staff it alone employed ahead of administration.

Paton Brown could not be reached for comment at the time of writing.

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