Restructuring distressed businesses uk

Best Practices in Restructuring Distressed Businesses in the UK

Some businesses rebound stronger after tough times, but others disappear. The key is using smart business restructuring strategies.

In the UK today, reviving struggling businesses mixes new corporate fixes with solid finances. These must tackle bad operations, money troubles, and rule issues in a changing legal space. The aim is to get companies not just through hard times, but thriving again.

The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (CIGA) started a new chapter on 26 June 2020. Its key part, the moratorium, has already helped 52 companies by January 2024. This has been crucial in finding tough but workable solutions for their problems.

Key events in 2022, like using the ‘cram-out’ at Smile Telecoms and the change in priority at Houst, are shaking up how we help businesses. These changes show that being quick to adapt is critical in saving and improving firms.

Combining the latest UK laws with top business practices can turn things around for sinking companies. Learn how these steps can change weak businesses into strong players in their markets.

Introduction to Business Restructuring

Business restructuring is key in managing struggling companies. It addresses big financial and operating issues. The goal is to start the journey to fix things, known as company rehabilitation.

When a company is in trouble, there are several ways to manage it. These include changing how the business works to make it better and worth more.

England and Wales have laws to help businesses in financial crisis. They list options like agreements, administration, and more. These are structured plans to help a company get back on track.

Changing how a business is run is a big part of restructuring. This can mean sorting out debts, changing who owns the company, or making things work better. It can make a big difference in the company’s health.

In June 2020, a new rule was added to restructuring plans. Now, if 75% of key people agree, others have to follow. This can help move things forward more easily.

Companies also have other ways to manage when in trouble. There are schemes that need agreement from most creditors or members. This shows the law is flexible and supports getting the company better.

Managing a company in trouble is becoming more complex. The line between having enough money to pay bills and not is hard to see. But, knowing the company’s health well is really important.

Legal Framework and Reforms

In the UK, restructuring is guided by key laws like the Insolvency Act 1986 and the Companies Act 2006, including the recent Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (CIGA). These laws help handle a struggling company in several ways. They allow for arrangements made by the company and also include administration and new ways of restructuring.

The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act brought in big changes. For example, between June 2020 and January 2024, 52 moratoriums were approved. This ‘time-out’ period gives struggling businesses up to 40 days to sort things out without pressure. They can also ask to extend this time, with a creditor’s approval or a court’s decision.

However, companies with very large debts or those already in special financial deals are not always eligible for this special time. But, if they do use it, any money they owe must be paid quickly. This fast payment rule helps make sure important debts are settled first if the company can’t clear what it owes.

2022 saw the first ‘cram-out’, a new way to make all creditors agree to a plan. This shows that the recent legal changes are working. Major cases like Virgin Active and Smile Telecoms have tested these new methods, proving their effectiveness. The CIGA also brought in more general improvements, showing its importance in our time.

Before bringing in these changes, there were wide discussions. People shared their ideas in talks running from 2016 to 2018. More than 600 pages of feedback helped in deciding on new rules. A 21-page document was also prepared to see how the changes might help.

Overall, these reforms bring new ways to help companies in trouble get back on track. They aim to lessen the immediate pressure and improve the companies’ long-term health. All this happens within the rules set by UK’s insolvency law and the Corporate Insolvency Governance Act 2020 (CIGA).

ESG Considerations in Restructuring

Adding ESG policies to fixing troubled businesses is very important. A PwC report notes that 83% of customers think companies should lead in ESG. This shows the growing demand for sustainable changes in businesses.

Esg policies

Now, how green a company is, its use of eco-friendly money, and its social duties are key. About three-quarters of big investors might pull out from those with a bad green record. This stresses the importance of strong ESG plans.

The EY Future Consumer Index says people now look at ESG when buying things. So, companies that redo themselves to be more green might get more environmentally aware customers and cut costs too.

The UK wants to hit zero emissions by 2050, making ESG even more crucial. The start of the International Sustainability Standards Board is making global ESG rules. This will make it clear and fair when companies report their ESG work.

When a company is in trouble, focusing on ESG might not seem urgent with other big worries. But, going green in such a situation can open doors. It can keep customers, add value to the company, and cut lawsuit risks. Directors should think hard about how their choices affect people and nature.

Lots of companies now aim to meet solid ESG goals and watch how well they’re doing. This active stand is very important. Investors, buyers, and lenders check on businesses more now. Even banks, following strict ESG rules, consider these matters in their decisions.

Being strong in ESG can help businesses in trouble get funds easily and increase values. On the flip side, a bad ESG record can harm credit scores and bring real risks.

In the housing market, how eco-friendly buildings are is a big deal when they’re up for sale. This affects what buyers make their choices on and how places are managed. Looking at ESG problems and the costs to fix them is usually a pre-buy check. Those dealing with houses in financial trouble need to know about Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs). This knowledge is key, especially when looking at different area rules, during restructuring with buildings involved.

Strategies for Operational Efficiency

To turn around struggling businesses, it’s key to work on how they operate. This means making their workflows more efficient. To make a business work better, companies cut extra steps and costs. They focus on what adds the most value. Lean operations are a big help here. They aim to reduce waste and add value to everything a company does.

But being efficient isn’t just about cutting down on spending. It’s about getting more work done better. Businesses are turning to new tech to help with this. They use tools to do repetitive tasks, letting people focus on important work. With the help of smart data use, companies can spot and fix problems fast.

A study found that in companies having money trouble, many chose to lay off employees. Some others restructured their assets. They often mix these steps with making better use of their resources. This, along with leaning their operation, aims to better how things are done. The idea is to keep growing and making things better.

During tough financial times, these efforts are even more important. Companies need quick fixes and better ways to work. This keeps them from stumbling again. By always aiming to do better, businesses can stay afloat and grow. The focus is on keeping things running efficiently for the long haul.

Debt Management Techniques

Managing debt well is key in restructuring a business. This includes sorting out finances, refinancing debts, and managing what’s owed. The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act, passed in 2020, put tools in place to help struggling companies.

For example, under the Act, there is a thing called a moratorium. This is like a time-out for companies to figure things out, lasting from 20 days to a year. Companies have used this tool to help sort out their finances from June 2020 to January 2024.

The moratorium gives companies a break from certain creditor actions. But not all companies can use it. Those with debts like financial contracts over £10 million can’t. Yet, it’s still very helpful for many companies dealing with debt.

When looking at managing what’s owed, companies can try different plans. For instance, they can offer new plans to their creditors. This aims to help the company get back on its feet and continue operating. Or they might choose other routes, like Company Voluntary Arrangements or Pre-pack Administrations.

For companies that are still in good shape but want to close down, there’s the option of Members Voluntary Liquidations. This helps in fairly dividing up its assets. Getting advice early on and exploring different strategies is vital. It can really help turn things around for the better.

Stakeholder Communication and Interests

During a restructuring, it’s crucial to engage with stakeholders effectively. This means openly talking with those like creditors, investors, staff, and clients. Doing so builds trust and teamwork. It also helps in developing successful partnerships.

The CIGA brought in new legal rules that have been a big help to companies and experts in the UK. For example, Smile Telecoms used a new method called ‘cram-out’ in 2022 with good results.

When the CIGA law came into effect, only 52 businesses got a special chance to reorganise. This shows the key role of clear and focused talking. Regular, honest updates are essential for keeping good relations with investors. These updates also ensure everyone knows the company’s plans for sorting things out, like extending help to continue staying afloat.

The Companies Act 2006 changes directors’ duties when their company is in trouble. Now, they should look out for the creditors’ interests. It’s vital for directors in tough times to get help from experts to tackle tough problems. This shows just how important it is to keep communication lines open and clear.

Big companies with over £10 million in special deals are not usually given the same help as smaller ones during hard times. This makes it crucial for their directors to make smart, fair choices under the Companies Act 2006. They must put the company’s success first, without any conflicts of interest.

Stakeholder engagement

Trying to save a struggling business means dealing with a lot of people who want their money back. But, being clear and planning well makes this path less risky for directors. It also helps everyone work together better in a difficult situation.

Restructuring Distressed Businesses UK

Rescuing stressed UK businesses requires a smart blend of methods. This includes UK-specific solutions and deep legal knowledge. The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act (CIGA) brought in helpful tools like the moratorium. It gives businesses a temporary break from insolvency stress.

The moratorium offers a 20-business-day pause initially, extendable for up to a year. This flexibility helps companies manage their financial crisis better. But, only 52 companies used the moratorium from June 2020 to January 2024. This is because some firms with big debts can’t use it.

Looking at a company’s impact on society and the environment is now key to getting funds and support. Businesses that care about the planet are thought to be less risky. That means they could get money at a lower cost and make more profit. A massive 83% of customers want companies to lead in being more ethical.

Soon, governments might favouring companies that do good for the planet. This could make such companies more valuable and protect them from legal and reputation harm. By focusing on both the here and now and their green future, companies can grow their customer base and work better.

Turning troubled UK businesses around means smartly moving on the board, following the law, and looking to the future. By using these full-on strategies, companies can come out of crisis strong, ready to take on the market.

Ensuring Financial Stability Post-Restructuring

It is vital to ensure a business’s financial health long-term after restructuring. A key step is to use strategies that watch and handle financial risks. This includes checking finance duties often, bringing in new money, and adjusting deals to keep the business on a recovery path.

After restructuring, making operations leaner and reducing costs can cut down on running costs. This boosts how well a business runs and supports growth plans. A solid financial oversight system is a must for stability after making big changes.

For more complicated restructurings, tools such as Restructuring Plans (RPs) under the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2000 help. They offer a clear path for dealing with financial hurdles and moving towards stable practices. Also, Time to Pay (TTP) deals with HMRC can help by offering a year’s grace to pay what’s owed.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is key for managing financial danger, covering deposits up to £85,000. It helps keep the business safe and employees or investors less worried about losing money if the business struggles again. Staying watchful and using preventative steps guard the business against returning financial troubles.

The UK has put a strong resolution scheme in place since the 2008 crisis to keep even big, complex companies from falling apart. Checks on resolution plans for banks and building societies every year make sure they are ready and following the rules. This effort supports a setting where growth strategies can do well.

In wrapping up, focusing on stability after restructuring means smart planning and always getting better. With good financial risk management and work towards lasting financial health, a business can set the stage for success over time.


In the UK, helping struggling businesses means looking at many parts of their problems. This includes their money, how they run, and legal issues. As more businesses face big challenges, it’s vital to use smart methods to help them recover well. Making operations better, managing debts wisely, and talking clearly with all involved can put a business back on its feet.

Key to fixing businesses is making big changes strategically. From September 2022 to October 2023, the use of Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs) has gone up by 14%. This shows more companies are using formal plans to pay back what they owe. These plans, along with new tools like Restructuring Plans (RPs), aim to help companies deal better with their debts and become financially healthier. This is good not just for the companies, but for the economy as a whole, showing a strong commitment to growth and financial stability.

Having a strong business model helps face tough financial laws. It’s important to understand the difference between types of financial problems a business can have. Also, using strategies that are good for the environment, society, and governance (ESG) can create long-lasting value. This way, companies meet the high standards of today in terms of being sustainable and ethical. Rescuing struggling businesses does a lot more than save jobs; it helps the entire economy grow stronger and more robust.

Written by
Scott Dylan
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Scott Dylan

Scott Dylan

Scott Dylan

Scott Dylan is the Co-founder of Inc & Co, a seasoned entrepreneur, investor, and business strategist renowned for his adeptness in turning around struggling companies and driving sustainable growth.

As the Co-Founder of Inc & Co, Scott has been instrumental in the acquisition and revitalization of various businesses across multiple industries, from digital marketing to logistics and retail. With a robust background that includes a mix of creative pursuits and legal studies, Scott brings a unique blend of creativity and strategic rigor to his ventures. Beyond his professional endeavors, he is deeply committed to philanthropy, with a special focus on mental health initiatives and community welfare.

Scott's insights and experiences inform his writings, which aim to inspire and guide other entrepreneurs and business leaders. His blog serves as a platform for sharing his expert strategies, lessons learned, and the latest trends affecting the business world.


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