The difficult we do immediately….

Here’s a little insight into the way we work.

Our client’s purchase of a printing company was conditional upon a valuation of the company’s production plant and equipment.

As we retain a specialisation in the printing industry’s assets, we were perfectly placed to provide the valuation, but we were naturally concerned to learn that the site inspections of over twenty machines at three locations and the valuation researches and report preparation had to be completed within three working days.

We therefore allocated two RICS Registered Valuers to the task which resulted in a multi-million pound valuation being presented to our client in time for the sale completion.

Another happy client!

All aboard

Instructed by the Liquidator of a West Sussex travel company, we undertook a RICS valuation and subsequently an online auction of its buses and coaches. Having witnessed the tremendous auction results including certain vehicles being sold and exported to Ireland, we were contacted by a private client to sell their buses and coaches from their site in Croydon.

 

For further information about our services, click here.

An honour for Marriott & Co.

An invitation to act as an Expert Witness in accordance with the Civil Procedure Rules is both an honour and a worry.

It is an honour because our reputation and personal CVs will have been scrutinised, and a worry because we know our report is likely to be challenged by one party or the other – and may result in a court attendance to defend our conclusions.

Our reports are therefore the result of much concentration involving thorough consideration of the facts, extensive researches, and meticulous report preparation.

 

For further information about our expert witness and litigation support work, click here.

When time is of the essence

A recent challenge for Marriott & Co.

Our client’s purchase of a printing company was conditional upon a valuation of the company’s production plant and equipment.

As specialists in the printing industry, we were perfectly placed to provide this, but were naturally concerned to learn that the site inspections of over twenty machines at three locations and the valuation researches and report preparation had to be completed within three working days.

We allocated two RICS Registered Valuers to the task which resulted in a multi-million-pound valuation being presented to our client in time for the sale completion.

 

For further information about our services, click here.

Neither Shaken nor Stirred

Whilst recently holidaying in Portugal, I found myself one damp lunchtime sipping a rather potent ‘007 Martini’ in the opulent ‘spies bar’ at the Hotel Palacio in Estoril, my mind drifting into Bond film memories of double agents, casinos and Aston Martins.

Apart from it being a wonderful destination, I am here because this hotel’s image is on the front cover of a book currently being read by my partner and whilst we had our holiday base in Lisbon, it seemed rude not to take the short journey to Estoril. It’s where, I understand Ian Fleming, an intelligence officer in the Royal Navy stayed during the second World War whilst devising ‘Operation Golden Eye’, and it is situated next door to the Estoril Casino a favourite haunt of Mr Fleming, hence Casino Royale was born.

Because of Portugal’s neutrality in the war, several royal families went into exile in Estoril, which evidently became known as the “Coast of Kings”.  The Hotel Palácio was the chosen home of members of European royalty and was also the place for British and German spies, who could often be found in its bar. I understand Graham Greene would also stay here. The intrigue and espionage inspired novelists and filmmakers and the Hotel served as the set for the movie “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”.

In August 2019 one of the Bond DB5’s was sold by auction, achieving $6.2m at the world’s biggest classic car auction in California. Once owned by the JCB billionaire Lord Bamford, it became the world’s most expensive DB5. However in the same auction a 1994 McLaren F1 sold for $19.8m, so the DB5 might be considered something of a bargain!

Whilst Marriott & Co would generally leave the real classic cars to the experts in that field (some of whom we have teamed up with for valuation purposes in the past), we have experience selling Aston Martins and will always be ready to auction your company cars and vans. We fully expect that you will not be either shaken or stirred by the results we achieve!

Judith Campbell, Director of Disposals

From Tear Drops to The Shard

Having been instructed to find buyers for two major glass tempering plants in the last year, it is not unreasonable to consider ourselves well experienced in valuing and selling glass processing machinery.

The first assignment took us into Kent and we undertook a RICS valuation of the business and assets, it was hoped that a buyer for this whole glass processing facility might be found. After much negotiation and deliberation, the various companies that had expressed an interest felt unable to take on the risk of such a large operation. We were therefore instructed to sell the vast array of glass processing machinery by online auction. A very successful sale with over 400 lots followed with Buyers attending from all over Europe, and many machines being exported to Ireland.

The main glass tempering furnace, used mainly for tempering architectural glass panels such as the 11,000 panels used on the Shard, was some 40 metres long and made by leading Italian manufacturer Mappi, it had been installed and used in the Kent facility for just 18 months. With a further comprehensive marketing period of two months Marriott & Co. found its Buyer by private treaty. We oversaw the furnace’s safe dismantling and removal from the UK site to its new home in Germany.

The second plant we were instructed to sell was even larger at 55 metres long and manufactured by Cooltemper, it comprised two main furnaces, the only one of its kind in the UK, and was sited this time in Essex. It was considered that this plant may best suit the American market. However, the Marriott & Co. marketing found the plant it’s new home less than an hour away and it therefore remained in the UK. This furnace was mainly used for tempering thinner glass for double glazed units.

In both cases the plants were sold for six figure sums. The client, a finance institution, was very pleased that Marriott & Co had managed to limit its potential losses by finding appropriate buyers in the short time scales, following bespoke marketing campaigns.

Whether a single asset that is best sold by private treaty, or a complete production facility whereby the best sale would generally be an online auction in lots, Marriott & Co will provide best advice to maximise realisations for all of our clients’ assets.

The glass tempering process works by compressor convection technology, first heating the glass to vast temperatures and then cooling very quickly. The glass becomes several times stronger than ordinary glass and can be used safely for many purposes. It is thought that ‘Prince Rupert’s drops’ were the first form of toughened glass, created by dripping molten glass into cold water to form toughened glass beads. The process creates residual internal stresses and counter-intuitive properties. Named after Prince Rupert of the Rhine who brought them to the UK in 1661, where the Royal Society of London then performed scientific studies on the properties of the drops.

Judith Campbell, Director of Disposals

What is happening to the Retail Industry?

I suspect that at the tender age of 35, I am now something of ‘shopping dinosaur’ in that I do not shop online (although admittedly my household does receive packages courtesy of my wife’s online shopping habits). I prefer instead to purchase things the old-fashioned way, i.e. actually going to a shop and seeing (maybe even touching!) the item that I plan to buy before I decide to part with my hard-earned cash.

However, it would appear that such traditional shopping is sadly, but firmly, on the decline. My inner ten-year-old will never quite get over the death of Woolworths some years ago, but more recently the insolvency of Toys R Us has startled Little Britain, leaving parents of my ilk wondering where we will be able to take the children in future for a ‘present choosing’ experience they will enjoy.

Other recent insolvencies in the world of retail include Claire’s Accessories, Maplin, Berwin & Berwin (B&B), Cloggs, Warren Evans, Justice Jewellers, Juice Corporation, Joe Bloggs, East, Nice ‘N’ Naughty Leisurewear, Barkers, Joe Delucci’s Gelato and Warwick. Further, large outfits such as New Look and Carpet Right are closing numerous stores and Mothercare have appointed KPMG to advise on a refinancing of the business.

The increasing dominance and economies of scale enjoyed by supermarkets has clearly made it difficult for more specialist shops to compete, but with online convenience shopping set to take over further this century, I believe that in future even the supermarkets will be facing difficulties attracting footfall.

I pondered some years ago, whilst studying, whether we are moving towards a warehouse dominated retail landscape whereby goods are purchased online, and the high streets are thereby turned into some kind of ‘residential and leisure hub’. However, in many parts of the UK, it appears worse than that at present with shops closing and being left vacant all over the country, causing a terrible waste of land considering the housing shortage this country is facing. It is possible that the retail industry could be facing a crisis soon and professional assistance will no doubt be needed to mitigate the potential damage that may be caused to the economy by such a crisis.

My firm, Marriott & Co., as RICS business asset surveyors, have been instructed on a number of retail related valuation and disposal exercises in the last year, generally instructed by proposed insolvency practitioners in order to ensure that a company’s assets are sold for their Market Value and that its creditors are thereby appeased and protected.

If you need professional assistance relating the valuation and sale of any retail assets, such as trading stock, fixtures and fittings, machinery, office equipment and furniture, then you need look no further than Marriott & Co. – our professional team will always provide you with sound independent advice and put our client’s best interests at the forefront of our concerns.

We are able to competently offer a company’s business assets for sale both as a whole, in an attempt to keep them in-situ as a going concern (e.g. marketing them in accordance with SIP 16), or whenever necessary on a ‘break up’ basis for sale ‘ex-situ’ by online auction or private treaty. Either way, we will ensure the assets are realised for the best possible price in the circumstances, whilst giving our clients valuable protection.

We are well versed in dealing with the intricacies of the insolvency market including fielding and managing Retention of Title (“ROT”) claims on our clients’ behalf whenever required. Do therefore call us on 01252 712083 if you think you might require our assistance.

 

Thomas Allman MRICS

HS2 & Compulsory Purchase Orders

The roll out of HS2 has been nothing if not controversial. With the deadline and budget stretching further and further away (the Independent recently reported that it would cost £403m for every mile of the new line) the creation and implementation of the new railway is viewed by many as an exorbitant drain of money and resources on the taxpayer, a killer of precious wildlife, and a source of great disruption to the lives of thousands of homeowners and businesses who will face a compulsory purchase order as a result.

But there must be a good reason why HS2 was given the green light in the first place, and there are, undoubtedly, many potential benefits to be had. As it set out to do, it will provide a crucial link between the South and the North of England, benefiting the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ and cutting the journey time between London and Manchester, and Birmingham and Leeds down by an hour.

It is estimated that that the new line will ease overcrowding on commuter routes, reduce the number of lorries on the road, transfer 4.5 million journeys a year from the air and up to 9 million from the road, a green initiative that nobody can argue with (except, of course, Donald Trump and his climate change denial crew). There is also the creation of 100,000 plus UK jobs to shout home about, as well as the ‘significant boost to the economy’ the line is expected to deliver.

However, whatever your own views are on HS2, it cannot be denied that being forced to move out of your home, or having to relocate or ‘extinguish’ your business can be a heart-breaking, difficult and unpleasant process (no matter the level of compensation received).

Following the Royal Assent of the High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) hybrid Bill early last year, the government has been granted compulsory purchase powers for the construction of HS2 Phase 1. Royal Assent for Phase 2A (Crewe and Manchester) and Phase 2B (West Midlands and Leeds) will follow over the next few years. These compulsory purchase powers mean homeowners and business owners are forced out of their properties and land which will be purchased by the government or representative public body for their market value. All costs attributed to moving (estate agency & legal fees etc.) as well as disturbance compensation, and in the case of businesses loss of profits, depreciation in the value of stock and adaptations to replacement premises etc. will also be covered by the purchasing body.

As a business owner, when a relocation of your business proves impossible, or you meet other criteria to take compensation for extinguishment basis (here’s a link to the relevant government guide: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/571450/booklet2.pdf), compensation will be provided for the value of the business goodwill, any losses on a forced sale of stock, vehicles and plant & machinery, redundancy costs and the administrative costs of winding up the business, as well as any other reasonable costs or losses incurred, such as surveyor’s fees.

Marriott & Co. are RICS registered, independent and experienced Valuers and Auctioneers. We are therefore qualified to provide clients with compulsory purchase order plant & machinery valuations that they can rely on when submitting their compensation claims. Our Valuers prepare their valuations in accordance with the RICS Red Book, so our clients can be assured of the ‘gold’ standard required by our professional body and be confident that our reports will stand up to any scrutiny from the relevant authorities.  We can also provide valuations of your business’s goodwill for compulsory purchase order purposes.

Our excellent disposal team can also sell your plant & machinery assets, in very short order if required, to achieve the highest possible realisation for business extinguishment purposes. Recently our team at Marriott & Co. were instructed to value and sell the business assets from the well-known White Rose Laundries in North Acton, as part of its compensation claim, the business having been which had been handed an HS2 compulsory purchase order. We were subsequently instructed to sell the business assets in short order with a sale of the assets in early December 2017, and completed the disposals in time for the HS2 Contractors to close the road, with chance of extension, on Wednesday 10 January 2018.

The Marriott & Co. team performed excellently within the tight timescale, lotting up the assets, creating the auction catalogue and marketing the sale by Wednesday 13 December 2017, leaving a week for bidding, further marketing and the opportunity for viewing from interested parties (all while the business was still trading). Despite being close to the Christmas holidays, Marriott & Co.’s disposal team achieved a terrific realisation for the assets in the online auction, meeting and exceeding reserves in a great result for our client. But of course, work didn’t stop there for the disposal team who worked before, after and over the Christmas period, collecting and chasing payments, arranging appointments to collect, and overseeing the collection of the considerable commercial laundry equipment and associated plant (no mean feat!) by the absolute deadline of Tuesday 9 January 2018.

We understand that businesses facing compulsory purchase, are often undergoing a turbulent and stressful time and we strive most of all to make the process of valuing and selling your business assets and plant and machinery as smooth as possible. Our Valuation & Disposal teams can be relied upon to act with the utmost integrity, discretion and professionalism. If you require some advice on a compulsory purchase order on your business or think you might require our services in this matter and would like a no obligation quote, please do call the office today on 01252 712 083.

 

 

By Frances Smithson  BA (Hons)

(Opinions expressed in this blog are the author’s personal views)

 

Plant & Machinery Auctioneers: The Dos & Dont’s!

Marriott & Co. is a highly professional, independent RICS Regulated firm of  Plant & Machinery Auctioneers.

The firm’s membership of the RICS ensures we must demonstrate its five professional and ethical standards meaning that we always: (1) act with integrity, (2) provide a high standard of service, (3) act in a way which promotes trust in the profession, (4) treat others with respect and (5) take responsibility.

We have been undertaking Auction Sales of plant & machinery throughout our 31-year history. For those of you who are not familiar with the comprehensive service that we provide, the following points offer some guidance as to what we hope may set us apart from some other plant & machinery auctioneers:

What we doWhat we do NOT do!
Prepare a formal Red Book valuation of the assets to be auctioned, in order to be able to recommend and agree appropriate reserve prices with the seller. The valuation cost can be included in the selling commission when appropriate so that no upfront charge to the seller is madeEstimate reserve prices on a whim and / or without agreeing them to ensure we do not sell assets for significantly less than their market value
Have a comprehensive ‘Seller’s Agreement’ for both the auctioneer and the seller to sign and thereby agree terms and fees at the outset. This is especially important for new clients.Fail to agree terms of engagement and as a result end up in dispute with our clients regarding what is expected of us and / or what we may charge
Attend site to lot up, taking full detailed descriptions of assets, sorting through minor items, and displaying each lot attractively for sale with photographsAsk the seller to send us the descriptions and photographs and / or give poor, inaccurate descriptions of the lots thereby deterring potential buyers from bidding
Carry out a risk assessment to identify and mitigate any hazards so far as is practically possibleIgnore potential health safety issues and hazards at the auction site thereby putting our staff and bidders at risk whilst attending the site
Upload the assets to our auction website which uses professional online auction software to allow competitive bidding to take place electronicallyCarry out live auctions, which many modern buyers are disinclined to attend
Undertake bespoke professional marketing for every sale in order to ensure that maximum possible bid prices are achieved and we can confidently recommend the highest offers to our clientFail to market the assets properly thereby resulting in a lack of competitive bidding and disappointing realisations
Deal with all queries from potential buyers promptly and effectivelyFail to answer reasonable buyer questions when it was possible to do so, thereby resulting in them losing interest
Advise buyers of any known faults by including the fault in the asset descriptionOmit known faults from the lot description in order to mislead buyers into bidding more than they would have done otherwise
Ensure that fair bidding takes place in accordance with UK auction lawBid in the auction ourselves, above or below reserve, as we deem this to be ‘creating a false market’
Obtain instructions for safe use wherever possible, obtain buyer waivers / undertakings for potentially unsafe goods and exclude assets whenever appropriatePut buyers, our clients, and ourselves at risk by breaching health and safety regulations, e.g. selling assets we know to be unsafe without informing the buyer
Invite viewings of the assets personally, keep a first aid kit on site and supervise viewers to ensure they are safe, have signed in and out for fire safety and have explicitly agreed to the Health & Safety rules on siteRefuse to allow viewings when it is possible for them to take place, and / or negligently supervise viewings by ignoring health and safety issues / hazards
Have no financial interest in the assets and to always be mindful of our overriding duty to act in our client’s best interestsTrade in plant & machinery as a ‘side line’ thereby causing potential conflicts of interest and a temptation to ‘bid people up’ and potentially ‘buy machines in’ when they have not done as well as hoped in the auction
Invoice purchasers and receive payment for lots which have met reserve immediately after the auction and take our client’s instructions for lots which have not met reserve (which are usually few and far between) negotiating improved offers wherever possibleFail to keep our client informed about the progress of the auction and then sell lots which have not met reserve without receiving instructions to do so
Obtain health and safety method statements from buyers prior to allowing the removal of heavy machinery etc.Let buyers turn up to site unprepared for how they are going to remove the lots, thereby causing delay and potential conflict
Oversee removals of assets, supervising buyers to ensure they comply with their method statementsAllow buyers to remove machinery unsupervised and / or unsafely without having considered potential hazards and required safety equipment
Account to our clients promptly with their monies that have been safely ring fenced in our RICS Regulated client accountPut our clients at potential risk by holding the realised funds/trust funds in any account other than our designated client account

 

By Thomas Allman MRICS

The Carillion Collapse

The recent Compulsory Liquidation of Carillion was a complete shock to the UK economic and political system. It has been reported that Carillion’s involvement in low margin fixed price contracts (mainly with the Government), and a resulting inability to remain profitable when problems occurred, was the significant reason behind its failure. The ‘chattering classes’ will inevitably focus on such issues and who is to blame for the current situation, demanding a Public Enquiry etc. and questioning political policies. Meanwhile, PwC will no doubt have their hands full with the financial and legal ramifications of Carillion’s downfall for years to come. However, the most pressing issue at hand is actually how to prevent severe repercussions for Carillion’s partners and subcontractors.

The Specialist Engineering Contractors Group speculated that a significant proportion of the 30,000 SMEs who are creditors of Carillion, could be at risk of insolvency as a result of the current situation. With Speedy Hire and Van Elle immediately reporting huge potential losses following the announcement of the Liquidation, it is clear that many of Marriott & Co’s insolvency and restructuring clients’ will be required to provide advice in order to minimise the negative impact of Carillion’s downfall for the wider economy.

The Carillion task force that the Government has established, chaired by Business Secretary Greg Clark, appears to have started the ball rolling at least in agreeing that Lloyds Bank, HSBC and RBS will provide a £225 million fund to support SMEs affected by Carillion’s insolvency. This should serve to stem the impact of the £1 billion that is owed to small suppliers by Carillion. Informal guides to survival for firms affected are already being published, for example the following:

Carillion Insolvency Advice for Businesses

Such guides are certainly useful. However, as per the last point made, businesses must be prepared to seek professional advice. As such, all of us involved in the world of insolvency need to be prepared for the potential requirement for our advice over the coming months.

As a highly experienced RICS Regulated firm, Marriott & Co. is well placed to assist insolvency practitioners with Red Book valuations and professional, independent sales of businesses and assets. We successfully dealt with the valuation and auction sale of the plant & machinery last year of what was effectively a smaller version of Carillion, a Kent based civil engineering company Livis Limited (In Liquidation). We are pleased to advise that the potential dividend for creditors from asset realisations was certainly maximised as a result of our involvement, with the online auction we ran proving extremely successful and well exceeding the insolvency practitioner’s expectations.

If you or any of your clients have been affected by Carillion’s downfall and think you may require our advice or services, in terms of asset valuations or sales (intangible or tangible), please do not hesitate to contact us on 01252 712083. We would be pleased to provide you with a no obligation proposal for assisting with such matters.

 

By Thomas Allman MRICS

Director of Valuations