Unsecured creditors owed more than £1m by failed aerospace and defence event organiser Shephard Conferences & Exhibitions (SCE) are unlikely to be paid, administrators have said. Slough-based SCE was put into administration earlier this year with debts of more than £1.6m, following its main financial backer's refusal to provide additional funding for the ailing business.
Accounts for 2009, 2010 and 2011 showed losses after tax of £343k, £34k and £446k respectively. As at December 2011, SCE had borrowed £608k from its parent company, The Shephard Group Ltd (SGL) – which is not in administration. The administrators’ report said SCE was “heavily reliant on funding” from sole shareholder Nicholas Prest. “Earlier this year it became apparent that the lender, Mr Prest, was unwilling to provide the company with additional funding via the parent company.”
Administrators ReSolve Partners LLP were appointed in July this year in a bid to sell the business. However, the latest Statement of Administrator’s Proposals filed with Companies House noted “there was no interest in the company as a going concern. The company traded at a loss, had little in the way of assets, had creditors of around £1.6m (including inter-company creditors) and had no contracts with customers which may have been preserved via a sale of the shares.”
Around £160k has been realised from the company in terms of debtors and VAT refunds, but "it is not anticipated there will be sufficient funds" to pay unsecured claims amounting to £1,044, 375. Creditors include the Bristol Marriott, Shangri-La Hotel (KL) and the Royal Pines in Australia. An initial distribution of £40k was paid in August to Prest, who is owed £644k.
When questioned as to the likelihood of holding a creditors' meeting, ReSolve only stated: "Probably not, unless we form the view that a dividend will be paid in due course."
One creditor, The UK Council for Electronic Business, was not hopeful, with a spokesperson stating: "We do not expect to be paid, end of."