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Finance


Firms struggling to pay off debts


A survey by the Midlands branch of insolvency and restructuring trade body, R3, has found one in eight Midlands firms are struggling to pay debts by their due date. The report, carried out for R3 by


research firm BVA BDRC, also found the same proportion, 12 per cent, needed to renegotiate payment terms with creditors. The survey indicates


that other signs of acute business struggles are also relatively widespread in the region. The R3 report has also detected an increase in more general signs of business distress among Midlands companies. Over half of businesses, 58 per


cent up from 51 per cent in April 2018, say that they have recently experienced at least one of the following – being owed payment on invoices that are over 30 days past due, 18 per cent, decreased profits, 18 per cent, a reduction in sales volumes, 17 per cent, regularly using the maximum overdraft facility, 12 per cent, a fall in market share, 10 per cent, or having had to make redundancies, 10 per cent.


R3 Midlands chairman Chris


Radford (pictured), a partner at Gateley plc in Birmingham, said: “Tougher trading conditions and much uncertainty have threatened the health of a significant chunk of Midlands businesses.” R3 Midlands forecasts a mixed year ahead for businesses in the region, particularly those which are struggling and are only paying off interest on their debts and not the debt itself, which the trade body says is a potential sign


of so-called ‘zombie businesses’. Chris said: “Some of these


‘zombie businesses’ might eventually be able to restructure or find new investment, and grow. Others will run out of road and become insolvent. “Positively, the Government has


recently announced plans to improve the UK’s business rescue and restructuring options. While these proposed insolvency reforms still need some work, they could eventually give insolvency practitioners more tools to help turn around struggling companies, and boost business productivity.”


Sector Focus


From left: James Andrews, Anna Roberts and Alan Carroll PwC bolsters tax team


PwC Midlands has strengthened its tax team with the appointment of two new partners and five directors. James Andrews (partner) and Anna Roberts (director) join PwC’s


growing Midlands tax team, and will be based in the Birmingham office. James Andrews has been appointed as a transfer pricing (TP) and


value chain transformation (VCT) partner. PwC has also made a number of internal promotions, including


international tax specialist Alan Carroll to partner, along with Thomas Rees, Carolyn Norfolk, Jon Clements and Aidan Coleman to director. Trusha Kachhela, partner and tax leader for PwC in the Midlands,


said: “These latest appointments bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to benefit our clients and strengthen our market position.”


March 2019 CHAMBERLINK 63


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