Directors save Titcheners from £3m debt trapBy Alice Murphy
February 26, 2010
A town centre accountancy firm placed into administration last year has been rescued after two directors bought out the company.
Titcheners, based at The Elms in Broad Street, went into administration owing £3 million in November 2009.
Of this, £2 million was tax debt and £1 million was owed to the bank.
Directors Peter Kelly and Roy Ashton bought out the company at the end of December and now plan to take the business forward.
Mr Ashton said: “We took back the business for a substantial amount of money.
“We have done it for the benefit of the creditors.
“There are now only two directors, down from eight a year ago.”
The Titcheners name has continued, but Mr Ashton said the administration has affected the brand.
“It is tainted but we are still getting new clients. It has dogged us, though.”
The company is still running out of three offices, with a total of 25 members of staff, including 14 staff in Wokingham. This is down from 106 people on the payroll two years ago.
Job cuts were made before the administration process began.
Mr Ashton admits the recession has hit many accountancy firms hard but says the company’s administration came about over management issues.
He said: “We called in administrators because we had this huge Crown debt. We had arrangements to pay by instalments but that became impossible.
“They took over the company for nine weeks and obviously looked for buyers.
“The offer I made with co-director Peter Kelly was accepted and we formed a new company.
“By doing it this way, we have protected the creditors for the benefit of the clients and we are now free to drive forward and deal with the obligations.”
The business first struggled in 2008 when its acquisition process meant it began to buy smaller companies.
Mr Ashton pledged: “We have repositioned now and we are the same size we were three years ago.”
“We’ve not lost any clients and nobody has lost their job.”
The first few weeks of the year were rocky due to the poor weather but Mr Ashton says business has been better since.
He said: “I’m terribly optimistic. We have control back.
“Before this, Titcheners was a successful business.
“We now have the right people in the right positions.
“We’re just about to recruit a marketing director and we are still getting a lot of new work.
“We are going to carry on delivering the same quality of service.”