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Neil Stewart Associates in administration following debt repayment breach


Public policy conferences specialist Neil Stewart Associates (NSA) has been placed in administration after failing to keep up debt repayments under a company voluntary agreement (CVA).

Struggling with debts of £1m, NSA made an agreement with creditors in March last year to allow it to keep trading. It agreed to repay £440k in regular quarterly instalments over the course of two years. NSA made its first and second instalments totalling £110k, however the third payment was not made, breaching the terms of the CVA.

After costs, just £86k is available to repay non-preferential unsecured creditors, who have entered claims for £1.1m. These include trade and expense creditors, who are owed £911k; HM Revenue and Customs, owed £122k; and employees owed £60k in unpaid salaries.

According to a Report to Creditors made by joint supervisors Duff & Phelps, the creditors will not receive more than 2 pence in the pound. Large creditors such as the Celtic Manor Resort in Wales and MWB Business Exchange Centres, owed nearly £74k and £65k respectively, will receive less than £2k. Other trade creditors include Arsenal Football Club, owed £31k; Harrogate International Centre, owed £28k and the Barbican Centre in London, owed £23k. The balance of the claims will rank as an unsecured claim in the administration.

Neil Stewart, chief executive of the Westminster-based agency, said the financial difficulties started in 2010 when conference attendance dropped while it was making a large investment in a new service offering, Policy Review TV. The initiative offered live broadcasting from policy-based conferences to give online delegates access to information in a more affordable format.

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