Are businesses waking up to the positive benefits of early restructuring?
In the weeks since the collapse of the facilities management and construction company Carillion, there has been a noticeable increase in companies announcing plans for restructuring.
Capita, the outsourcing company frequently used by local and national government, whose shares have recently dropped by over 50% has just appointed a new CEO to turn it around after finally admitting that it was in financial difficulties.
Other businesses that have come under the spotlight include M & S, which is to close up to 14 of its stores, the burger chain Byrons closing 20 of its branches as part of a CVA rescue plan, House of Fraser looking to negotiate rent reductions, New Look is working on a store closure plan, B & Q axing 130 head office positions, Jamie’s Italian that is doing a CVA and there are employee changes under way at Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons.
While the majority of recent announcements have been in retail, they are not exclusively so.
What is perhaps more interesting is that efforts to restructure large businesses seem to be happening earlier.
This can only be welcomed as the earlier a business realises that it is, or could be, heading for financial difficulties or insolvency, the greater the likelihood that it will survive, albeit as a slimmed down business.
It is the job of a restructuring and turnaround adviser to carry out a thorough review of every aspect of a business, its products, processes, cash flow, business plan and overheads to identify those parts that are healthy and those that are draining cash or depressing profits.
She or he will make recommendations on anything that needs to change, including those products or services that need to go, as well as those that have potential to grow. Some of this advice may be painful, but it is in the interests of the business to be open to advice and to act on it.
Remember, the restructuring and turnaround adviser is looking to save the business and it is in their interests to help it to survive and grow. They are not insolvency practitioners whose role is to realise assets for creditors.
It goes without saying that the earlier the restructuring process begins, the greater the likelihood of success.
Once a company has appointed an insolvency practitioner its prospects of survival are reduced.
There is a lesson here for businesses of all sizes, from SMEs upwards, and this is to be proactive in monitoring business performance, enlist the help of an experienced restructuring and turnaround adviser at the first signs of trouble and be willing to take their advice, however painful, if the business is to survive and return to profitability.
It is to be hoped that those subcontractors affected by the collapse of Carillion will heed this advice and enlist support sooner rather than later.