Keep Going: Learn How to Avoid Liquidation

Liquidation is the final step for an unfortunate company. So, it’s better to learn how to avoid liquidation and to think of alternatives.
How to Avoid Liquidation

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Hey, Entrepreneurs!

Welcome to our blog. If you’re a business owner in the UK, you know that keeping your company afloat is no easy feat. It’s safe to assume you’ve wondered about the steps you can take to prevent your business from facing the dreaded “liquidation.”

In this post, we’ll explore effective strategies to learn how to avoid liquidation and steer clear of the risks associated with unfortunate business closures. Liquidation can be a challenging and often last-resort option, but understanding the red flags and taking proactive measures can keep your business on a steady course.

So, let’s dive in! Remember, you’re not alone, and we’re here to guide you every step of the way.

Liquidation Process of a Company

The liquidation process of a company is complicated. Liquidation, as used in the corporate world, is shutting down a company and dispersing its assets to those with claims. It typically occurs when a business is insolvent or unable to pay its debts when they become due.

When a company ceases operations, its remaining assets are used to pay off creditors and shareholders in the order they are owed. Liquidation is typically a final process in which the company cannot continue trading.

Red Flags and Warning Signs of Possible Liquidation

It’s essential to recognize the warning signs early to avoid liquidation. Here are some common red flags that your business might be in trouble:

  • Mounting debt that you can’t manage.
  • Declining revenue and profitability.
  • Losing key customers or contracts.
  • Cash flow problems.
  • Increasing legal disputes or creditor demands.

Reasons for Liquidation of a Company

The liquidation of a company can happen for various reasons. Take a look below at the reasons to learn how to avoid company liquidation and keep going:

  • Financial Troubles: When a company faces severe financial problems and can’t pay its debts, it may opt for liquidation. Or it may be compelled to go for one.

  • Revenue Declining: If a business consistently loses money and profitability, it might choose to close down. And a liquidation might come into play.

  • Increasing Debt: When a company accumulates too much debt that it can’t manage or repay, liquidation becomes a consideration.

  • Loss of Key Customers: Losing major customers or necessary contracts can lead to a drop in revenue, making it harder to stay in business.

  • Legal Disputes: Frequent legal disputes or lawsuits can drain a company’s resources, making it difficult to continue operations.

  • Cash Flow Problems: Struggles with cash flow, where a company doesn’t have enough money to cover its expenses, can lead to liquidation.

  • Regulatory Issues: Violating laws or regulations can result in fines and legal problems, contributing to a company’s downfall.

  • Ineffective Management: Ineffective management leads to the permanent closure of businesses. Effective operation is impossible without proper management, regardless of a company’s size. Many new business owners make this error. And this can lead to liquidation at some point.

How to Reduce Liquidation Risk?

It is essential to avoid liquidation, as it can be costly and time-consuming. There are several things that company owners can do to reduce their risk of liquidation, including:

Manage Your Cash Flow Carefully

Managing cash flow means tracking your income and expenses closely and ensuring you have sufficient funds to meet your obligations.

Monitor Your Debt Levels

Monitor your debt levels by keeping an eye on your debt-to-equity ratio and other financial metrics to identify potential problems early on.

Have A Plan For Dealing With Financial Difficulties

If you do start to experience financial difficulties, have a plan for how you will deal with them. This may involve renegotiating debts with creditors, selling non-core assets, or restructuring your business.

Build Strong Relationships With Your Creditors

Keeping your creditors informed of your financial situation and working with them to develop a solution can help avoid liquidation.

Be Proactive And Seek Help From Professionals If Needed

If you are concerned about the liquidation risk, seek help from an insolvency practitioner or other qualified professional.

Company owners can reduce liquidation risk and protect their business by taking these steps.

How to Stop Liquidation Proceedings

There are two main types of liquidation proceedings. They require different procedures to be halted.

Stopping Voluntary Liquidation

Voluntary liquidation proceedings can be stopped or halted in the UK if the company’s shareholders and creditors change their minds. However, terminating voluntary liquidation depends on the specific circumstances and liquidation stage.

Here are some steps that could be taken to stop voluntary liquidation:

1. Reversing a Member’s Voluntary Liquidation (MVL)

  • In an MVL, the company is solvent, and the shareholders decide voluntarily to liquidate it. If the shareholders change their minds before the completion of the liquidation, they can pass a resolution to reverse the liquidation decision.

  • The shareholders must hold a general meeting and pass a special resolution to revoke the winding-up resolution.

  • The liquidator must be notified of the decision, and they will take measures to stop the liquidation process.

2. Reversing a Creditor’s Voluntary Liquidation (CVL)

  • In a CVL, the company is insolvent, and its creditors initiate the liquidation procedure. To halt a CVL, you must get the approval of both the shareholders and the creditors.

  • Similar to the process in an MVL, shareholders can pass a special resolution to halt the liquidation.

  • Creditors must agree to halt the liquidation as well. This usually necessitates the approval of most creditors regarding value, and the decision may have to be made during a creditors’ meeting.

3. Take Professional Advice

  • To navigate the complexities of stopping liquidation, seeking professional advice from an insolvency practitioner or lawyer is essential.

  • An insolvency practitioner may be able to assist in facilitating discussions between shareholders and creditors to reach an agreement to end the process.

4. Legal Proceedings (Last Resort)

  • Legal action may be required if an agreement cannot be reached and the liquidation is already underway. This may entail petitioning the court for an injunction to halt the liquidation.

  • Legal action should only be taken as a last resort due to its complexity and potential expense.

Stopping Compulsory Liquidation

When a creditor wants to shut down your company and take it to court for liquidation, you can take the following steps to stop this:

  1. Negotiate a Repayment Plan With Creditors: If the company cannot pay off its debts in full immediately, it may be able to negotiate a repayment plan with its creditors. This would involve the company making regular payments to creditors over a period of time.

  2. Ask HMRC for Extra Time to Pay: If you owe taxes and are concerned about HMRC closing your business, contact them as soon as possible. They might offer extra time to pay your tax debts, known as a Time-to-Pay arrangement.

  3. Get Additional Funding: If negotiations fail, consider obtaining additional funding for your company. You can use invoice or asset-based funding to pay off your debt while avoiding legal action.

  4. Enter into a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA): A CVA is a formal agreement between a company and its creditors that allows the company to avoid liquidation. A CVA can help if you have multiple debts. It restructures your debts and allows you to continue trading while repaying a manageable monthly amount. An Official Receiver oversees CVAs and ensures they are conducted fairly and transparently.

  5. Enter into Company Administration: Administration is a court-supervised process that can give a company more time to turn around its finances. In administration, the company’s directors are replaced by an administrator responsible for managing the company’s affairs. This can also prevent liquidation. It gives you an eight-week period to create a recovery plan. Afterward, you might consider a CVA or restructuring to make your business more sustainable.

How to Prevent Liquidation Before You Face the Pitfall

By following some easy steps, you can prevent the liquidation of your company. The steps are as follows:

  • Manage your cash flow by closely tracking your income and expenses and ensuring you have enough cash to meet your obligations.

  • Manage your debts carefully. Pay bills and loans on time to avoid accumulating debt.

  • Have a contingency plan for dealing with financial difficulties. If you do start to experience financial difficulties, have a backup plan for how you will deal with them. This plan should outline steps to take if the company faces insolvency. The plan may involve renegotiating debts with creditors, selling non-core assets, or restructuring your business.

  • If you owe money to creditors, discuss repayment terms with them. They may be open to flexible arrangements.

  • Be proactive and seek help from professionals if needed. If you are concerned about the liquidation risk, seek help from an insolvency practitioner or other qualified professional.

  • Consider restructuring your business operations to become more efficient and cost-effective.

  • Explore ways to increase your company’s income, such as attracting customers or expanding your product or service offerings.

  • If you’re a director, be cautious about personal guarantees for company debts. They could make you personally responsible for the debt.

  • Keep up-to-date with changes in your industry and the economy. Adapt to market conditions and be prepared for challenges.

  • Review and adjust your financial strategies regularly to keep up with changing circumstances.

  • You can look for alternatives to liquidation.

What Are the Alternatives to Liquidation?

Liquidation is not the only solution; it’s a company’s final step or resort. There are alternatives to it. Here, we discussed those alternatives.

Liquidation Alternative for Solvent Company

  • Voluntary Strike-off: Closing your solvent business can be done through a company strike-off or dissolution. It’s a pretty straightforward process. If most of the directors agree, you can do it online or by sending a form to Companies House for a fee of £13.

    This method suits companies with assets valued at less than £25,000. If your assets are worth more, it’s usually better to go for a Members’ Voluntary Liquidation, which can be more tax-efficient since it may result in capital gains tax instead of income tax.

    Before applying for strike-off, sell or transfer the company’s assets. If any assets remain under the company’s name after it’s removed from the Companies House register, they will become the property of the Crown (government).

  • Restructuring: Restructuring can involve several measures, such as selling non-core assets, reducing costs, or changing the company’s business model. The restructuring aims to make the company more efficient and profitable and reduce debt.

  • Refinancing: Refinancing involves taking out new loans to repay existing loans. This can be a good option if the company can get a better interest rate on the new loans.

  • Mergers and Acquisitions: A merger or acquisition can be a good way for a company to raise capital and improve its financial position. However, it is essential to carefully consider the risks involved before entering into a merger or acquisition.

Liquidation Alternative for Insolvent Company

  • Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA): If your business is struggling but can still make it, a CVA lets you keep operating while paying off debts over time. You’ll need a professional called an insolvency practitioner to help set up a CVA. They’ll work with you to make a deal with your creditors about repaying what you owe. If 75% of your creditors (by value) agree to your plan, you can repay the debts monthly for about three to five years, and any remaining debts will be forgiven.

  • Administration: This is for businesses facing severe money problems and pressure from creditors. When you apply for administration, you get a temporary 8-week break from creditor actions. During this time, an administrator figures out how to rescue, reorganize, or sell the business. Administration usually lasts about 12 months but can vary based on the situation.

    Ways out of administration include:
    • Keep trading if the administrator sorts out finances.
    • Arrange a CVA with creditors if it helps the business.
    • Sell some or all of the business’s assets to a new company (pre-pack sale).
    • If the business can’t be saved, close it down (Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation) and distribute the money to creditors.

What Are the Consequences of Liquidation?

The main effect of liquidation is that the limited company ceases operations immediately, and the director’s role is terminated. A liquidator will shut down the business, lay off staff, and sell off assets to pay off the company’s debts.

Take a look below to learn more:

  • Business Closure: Liquidation means the company will close for good. Usually, its name, brand, and reputation will be lost.

  • Investigation of Directors: The liquidator must report on the conduct of the company’s directors for the past three years. Directors who acted up, notably if they allowed debts to accumulate while knowing the company was in trouble, may face personal liability or disqualification.

  • Damage to Reputation: Liquidation can damage the reputation of the company and its directors, making it difficult to start a new business.

  • Legal Costs and Fees: Liquidation can be a complex and costly process involving legal fees, accounting fees, and the costs of selling the company’s assets.

  • Loss of Skilled Employees: Liquidation often leads to employees losing their jobs. Experienced and skilled employees may leave to find work elsewhere, hurting the company’s workforce.

Why Would Anyone Initiate a Company Liquidation Voluntarily?

A voluntary liquidation is less stressful than a creditor-compelled legal one. When a company decides to go into voluntary liquidation, it can plan ahead to minimize disruptions, and the shareholders get to choose the qualified insolvency practitioner who will oversee everything. The appointment procedure is relatively simple.

Importantly, liquidation doesn’t always mean the end of the business. It might involve selling the business assets at their fair market value to another company that continues running the business. The insolvency practitioner decides the best way to get the most money for the creditors, whether by closing down or continuing to operate while looking for a buyer.

In the voluntary process, the plan can be discussed before the appointment, including handling staff and selling assets. Often, directors can be involved in the process because it’s in their interest to get the most money for the creditors and reduce their personal liability if they’ve given personal guarantees.

A company may also voluntarily liquidate for strategic reasons, such as divesting non-core assets or focusing on its most profitable business lines. This can be an excellent way to improve the company’s overall performance and long-term prospects.


Q1: What Will Happen After My Company Is Liquidated?

Answer: When a company is liquidated, the money from its assets is used to pay off its debts. Any remaining funds go to shareholders. When the company is struck from the register, it will be given to the Crown if the money has not been distributed among the shareholders.

Note: To access your company’s bank account, you will need a validation order.

Q2: Who Is an Official Receiver?

Answer: The term “Official Receiver” is used in several countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, and other Commonwealth nations.

A public official appointed by the court to oversee the insolvency process of people and businesses is an official receiver. They are also known as liquidators or trustees. Official receivers are typically civil servants who work for the Insolvency Service but are also court officers.

Q3: What Are Liquidated Damages in Law?

Answer: In English law, liquidated damages are a pre-agreed-upon sum of money that one party to a contract must pay the other party if they breach a particular contract term. Liquidated damages clauses are commonly used in construction contracts but can also be used in other types, such as commercial and employment contracts.

Q4: What Is Liquidation Risk?

Answer: Liquidation can happen in both futures trading and trading on margin. Liquidated trading is risky, and you could lose all of your collateral—your initial margin—if the market moves against your leveraged position enough.

Q5: Is Liquidation Suitable for a Company?

Answer: Companies that cannot pay their debts, meet their financial obligations or are bankrupt may want to go through liquidation.

Q6: What Does It Mean to Be Wound Up by the Court Order?

Answer: A creditor owed at least £750 can ask the court to shut down a business. This is called a formal winding up by the court.

Q7: What Are Time-to-Pay Arrangements With HMRC?

Answer: An HMRC Time-to-Pay (TTP) arrangement is a payment plan that allows you to pay your tax debt in installments. This can be helpful if you cannot pay your tax bill in full on time.

Q8: What Is Turnaround Finance in the UK?

Answer: Turnaround finance is a type of financial support known as turnaround funding or restructuring finance. It is provided to financially distressed companies in the UK.
Turnaround finance helps companies recover from financial difficulties and return to profitability.

Wrapping Up

In a nutshell, avoiding liquidation is possible with the proper steps and support. Remember, seeking professional help early on can make a big difference. You can keep your business on track and moving forward by taking action and exploring alternatives. So, don’t lose hope. Keep going and safeguard your business’s future!

Please contact us if you have any further questions. We can assist you with ensuring legal compliance.

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