Northern Ireland Company Insolvency - Understanding Your Insolvency Options in Northern Ireland

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Updated: 6th March 2021

An overview of the insolvency processes available to company directors in Northern Ireland

Our Services for Northern Ireland based Companies:

Northern Ireland Companies

With 100 offices stretching from Inverness down to Exeter, Real Business Rescue can offer unparalleled director advice across the UK. As licensed insolvency practitioners we are required by law to provide accurate and applicable guidance in every scenario, and we're also legally obligated to act in the best interest of struggling companies and their creditors.

If you need answers quickly you can send us your questions online or call us on 0800 644 6080 for free advice.

Most directors of indebted companies are trying to do one of two things with the business – they want to get out of debt and facilitate a rescue, OR they want to close down voluntarily. Regardless of which route you'd like to take, we have the experience and expertise needed to help facilitate an optimal outcome with minimal effort and hassle on your behalf.

Here are some of the ways we help the directors and owners of distressed companies accomplish their business goals:

Proposing a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA)

If your business is having trouble keeping up with monthly repayments, payroll expenditure and other operating costs, then entering into a CVA may be the most suitable course of action. This is a formal agreement between a company and its creditors, which, if approved, would provide revised repayment terms that allow for lower repayments, while also centralising debt obligations into a single, easy-to-manage monthly contribution.

As long as you adhere to the terms of the CVA, none of the creditors included in the arrangement will be able to take legal action against your company. To initiate the CVA process you  need the assistance of a licensed insolvency practitioner (IP). The appointed IP would then hold a creditors' meeting to propose the professionally drafted CVA agreement on your behalf.

Click here to learn more about the company voluntary arrangement process in Northern Ireland.

Entering into Company Administration

During a company administration you would appoint a licensed insolvency practitioner to act as the administrator of your business. The administrator would assume the role of interim chief executive officer (CEO), and would therefore have full control over the company's affairs, operating with the primary goal of raising the funds needed to repay the company's debts as much possible and bring about a complete rescue, if possible.

However, if the business is unable to recover from its debt load and become viable again, then the administrator is obligated to inform the directors of the most ideal alternative options. The main benefit of administration is that it instantly stops legal actions being taken against your company while the appointed administrator utilises their expertise to seek funding, realise assets into cash, negotiate with creditors, and perform other actions that could save the business.

Company administration may provide an optimal outcome for your company if:

  • You're not confident that the current managers or directors of your business will be able to facilitate a successful recovery from insolvency
  • You're concerned that one of your creditors may be on the verge of taking legal action
  • Standard negotiations and other informal rescue attempts have failed

If the administrator feels that the administration is unlikely to result in the rescue of the business, and you're interested in saving some of the assets of the business so that they can be transferred to another company then it may be advisable to consider if a pre-packaged sale of assets during administration is appropriate . This procedure is commonly referred to as a pre-pack administration, and despite the fact that it has been a topic of controversy in recent years, it remains a legal and ethical way for the directors of an insolvent business to retain and transfer assets of the business, provided that they can afford to purchase the desired assets at fair market value using their own personal funds. Furthermore, the insolvency practitioner appointed as administrator will need to be able to show the Court that a pre-pack administration will provide the best outcome for all of your company's creditors.

Click here to learn more about company administration in Northern Ireland.

Initiating Voluntary Liquidation

If you'd like to put an end to a business with minimal effort and hassle then entering into voluntary liquidation may be a route to consider. In any company liquidation the primary goal is to sell the assets of the business (i.e. - equipment, tools, inventory, vehicles, bank account funds, stocks, real estate, etc.) in order to repay creditors as much as possible. Following the sale of assets the company is dissolved and struck off. There are two types of voluntary liquidation:

  • Creditors' Voluntary Liquidation (CVL) - If your business is failing and you'd like to put an end to the pressure from bill collectors then a CVL is an optimal solution.
  • Members' Voluntary Liquidation (MVL) - This voluntary liquidation method is only used to wind up solvent companies that are in good standing with creditors. Therefore, an MVL is most likely not a feasible option if your company is in significant financial distress.

Click here to learn more about company liquidation in Northern Ireland.

Stopping a Winding Up Petition and Avoiding Compulsory Liquidation

If your company owes a creditor or HMRC an undisputed debt of more than £750 then it is at risk of being forced into compulsory liquidation, during which all assets would be sold before the permanent dissolution of the company. As a general rule of thumb you'll only have seven working days to take action after receiving a winding up petition before the end or your company becomes highly probable.

Click here to learn more about stopping a winding up petition and avoiding compulsory liquidation in Northern Ireland.

Avoiding Administrative Receivership

If you have defaulted on a debenture agreement that contained a security which was created before 15 September 2003 then you could be in danger of being put into administrative receivership, during which a receiver would be appointed to take control of your company in order to realise its assets into funds that will be used to repay your creditors. Unfortunately, if the value of your assets cannot cover the total amount of debt you owe then this process will end in the complete liquidation and permanent dissolution of your business. Fortunately, if you take action quickly it may still be possible to stop a creditor from exercising their right to appoint a receiver.

Click here to learn more about administrative receivership in Northern Ireland.

Personal Insolvency Solutions

If you're struggling with overwhelming personal debts and are on the verge of being declared bankrupt we can help. We offer a diverse range of personal insolvency solutions, including individual voluntary arrangement (IVAs) and debt management plans, both of which can help you recover from a debt load of tens of thousands of pounds while only having to pay what you can realistically afford each month.

If you need advice on any matter related to corporate or personal insolvency in Northern Ireland, feel free to send us your questions or call us on 0800 644 6080 for free advice. Call us today and let us help you like we have helped hundreds of other business. Real Business Rescue provide director advice online, over the phone, or in-person at one of our 100 UK offices or a place of your convenience.

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