Highbury payouts at last

Well, it’s nearly been three years coming, but finally BDO Stoy Haward have started paying out the monies owed from the Highbury ring-fenced fund.

A letter arrived in this morning’s post with a cheque for the full amount I was owed by Highbury for work on iCreate in January 2006. According to the letter, the trustees of the New Credit Trust applied to the court for an order confirming the beneficiaries; the court made the order on the 8th September and they’re now paying out.

Once the Trustees have completed all initial distributions, they will be contacting those parties who potentially have further Trust monies outstanding to them in order that they may prove whether their debt falls within the Trust period, which was from 12 December 2005 to 20 January 2006

Hopefully, everyone will get their cheques through soon then.

Payout in two months for Highbury ring-fenced fund?

After quite a long break, I’ve spoken to Chris Coles of BDO again about progress on paying out on the ring-fenced fund to Highbury creditors. After admitting that paying out by Christmas last year was hopelessly optimistic, he now thinks BDO should be able to pay out within a couple of months. He says:

“Because of the way it was set up, it raised some complicated issues. At first view, it was simple and quick, but it’s just delayed it.”

There are still some technical issues to overcome to with tax liability and determining whether there are any separate classes of creditors, but BDO has definitely been appointed by the courts to deal with the issues.

Not sure how much to rely on that “two months” thing with Christmas coming up, but fingers crossed it won’t be too much longer now.

The ring fenced fund progresses?

Just spoken to Chris Coles of BDO about payouts from the Highbury ring-fenced fund. He’s just had an updated application and he’s busy chasing down one of the larger creditors to get some documents changed. But he hopes soon to have some paperwork put together for the lawyers. They’ll take it to a court hearing and after that, things should move smoothly. Hopefully.

SMD dead?

Just got this from one of SMD’s freelances:

I just received a form creditor/insolvency letter re SMD Publishing. Talk about Deja Vu. (Luckily, I got paid).

Certainly, Attitude magazine’s been having problems, according to reports. Now it looks like the whole thing’s come crashing down. Anyone else heard from SMD or can confirm?

Speed of payment after liquidation

In case you’re owed money by Highbury – although let’s face it, unless you’re a preferential creditor, there’s probably nothing coming for us because of all the debts the company owed to preferred creditors – I thought I’d give you an idea of how long it takes liquidators to decide how much money to dish out.

I’ve just received notice that the liquidators of a company that went bankrupt mid-2004, owing me £875 from an invoice I’d sent in May 2004, are about to pay out. I’ll get 22.98p in the pound.

So that’s just over two years to get paid a fifth of what I was owed. The wheels of financial justice move slowly, my friends.

Actually, the liquidator were going to pay out in August, but they got my address wrong and sent the cheque to the wrong address. I only found out because they’ve just sent me the “we’re winding things up now” letter, which somehow made it through.

PS Anyone who did work for Highbury’s “ringfenced fund” back in January should now have received a letter telling them what’s happening. If you haven’t yet received a letter, give BDO Stoy Hayward a call or else you won’t stand a chance of getting paid.

Remnant Media in some financial fun

Remnant Media, owners of SMD Publishing, are going to have some fun tomorrow at an extraordinary general meeting, apparently.

A former director of Remnant Media, which runs the porn publishing empire once owned by Richard Desmond, is urging shareholders to vote down proposals to increase its share capital at tomorrow’s extraordinary meeting.

Anthony Edwards, a Remnant Media director until last year, has written to fellow shareholders encouraging them to vote against two of the three resolutions because he believes they “raise serious issues requiring response by the directors”.

Interesting, he also points out the following:

[Remnant pledged] – at the annual meeting last October – to provide a quarterly financial update, [which] had not been honoured. No information has been issued since January, he says. Remnant said it would provide an update at the meeting.

But Mr Edwards is concerned this may not cover the financial position. “The last annual accounts issued were for the period ending December 2004 at the AGM on October 4, 2005. Why isn’t the meeting an AGM with presentation of full accounts for the year ending December 31, 2005? I believe the answer is simply to avoid providing financial information that would have to be made available at an AGM,” he said.

Mr Edwards says he “wants to ensure all shareholders are treated equally and fairly, with full disclosure of information”. He questions why Remnant is proposing to allot 5m new shares to Mr Robinson at 10p. When Remnant raised cash from new investors in 2004 it was at 32.5p a share. Mr Edwards asks: “Why is he the only shareholder offered the opportunity to increase his investment in the company?”

An update on the Highbury ring-fenced fund pay-outs

Just spoken to Chris Coles at BDO Stoy Hayward again about payments from the Highbury ring-fenced fund. This has the money intended to go to those who did work for Highbury at the start of the year, before it went into receivership. Here’s the latest info:

BDO Stoy Haward and Ernst & Young are still in the process of making the application to the court to make BDO the administrator of this fund. He’s expecting that to go through this month, although they don’t have a court date yet.

The letter that tells everyone about what’s happening is due to go out in the next day or so. They’ve been trying to make sure the list of people it goes to is as complete as possible – apparently, the list of people in the “trust document” is very long.

Once court confirmation comes through, they’ll be able to look through individual claims. Coles hopes to be able to do this as quickly as possible, although there a few claims and technical issues that might mean it takes “a little while” to review them all. He does say, however, that the company “has no real interest in dragging out” the process. “It’ll make life easier if we make the distribution as soon as possible.”