Project management & labour supply into the UK rail markets

Situation faced:

Loss making business operating with one large underperfoming contract, limited financial information, a range of corporate governance issues, no plan and an ever-worsening funding position which had seen debt rise substantially over the recent past.

Outcome achieved:

Provide a diagnostic review to the business and then work with management to improve cash management techniques, build a 3 year recovery plan including significant financial restructuring, improve corporate governance and management information systems whilst also increasing accountability, targets and responsibilities to the wider team.  Operational improvements and management team strengthening will form a key component of the plan.

Duration: Ongoing

End: Ongoing

 

 

Wholesaler of electric hair grooming products to the hairdressing trade

Situation faced:

Loss making operations after supplier failiure in 2013 with very tight cash management required . overtrading for last couple of years. Company had lost key funder (Barclays) support and needed refunding. Company had also focused on front office only and finance/operations needed restructuring

Outcome achieved:

Developed cash forecast for business as well as bringing finance department back up to date and sufficiently resourced. Addressed management communication and short term planning. Developped presentation for potential funders and met with 7 banks. funding reviewed and new lender brought in to support business into next stage of development and key autumn trading period

Duration: 3 months

End: August 2014

Manufacture, import and distribution of branded construction products

Situation faced:

Acting as CRO, the Group was facing rising cash pressure due to under-performance within a manufacturing-led subsidiary - a consequence of operational, sales and poor quality information.  This in turn was limiting the growth opportunity offered by an import/distribution subsidiary that required funding to grow.  The management team was under-pressure, disjointed and there was no up plan to deliver a recovery.   The team had consistently underperformed against forecasts for a long period of time leading to a loss of confidence from their Private Equity funders and they were unsure whether to support the business, and if so, in what form that support should come.

Outcome achieved:

Provided a diagnostic overview to the investors and worked with management to build a 3 year recovery plan and detailed action plans in key operational areas (manufacturing, IT, sales and marketing, customer care and new product development).  Introduced improved cash management techniques and agreed a time to pay arrangement with HMRC covering £500,000 of arrears.  The management team was strengthened with the introduction of a new Finance Director and Commercial Director, and ultimately the plan was supported by the Private Equity investors.

Duration: 4 Months

End: June 2014

 

Multi-disciplinary global service provider to the renewables industry

Situation faced:

Significant losses over a 4-5 year period, £0.75m of HMRC arrears, a cost base geared to expansion, little or no financial information, disparate and fragmented management and an overly complex group structure.

Outcome achieved:

Time to pay arrangement agreed with HMRC and £2.8M of cost savings delivered within 4 months.  In collaboration with management a 3 year recovery plan was built which sees the business reduce its cost base, focus upon its core strengths and generate regular profits.  Succession planning and fundraising to deliver this plan in the long term continue. Exited at the point where managementand shareholders believed they had sufficient funding to deliver the recovery plan.

Duration: 7 months

End date: February 2014

Wholesaler of Branded Kitchen Appliances

Situation faced:

Company had expanded rapidly but had been forced to close its European operations as a result of which the Company was experiencing significant working capital pressures.

Outcome achieved:

Engaged to support management extend its STCF to 13 weeks and improve robustness of forecasting model. Identified significant excess borrowing requirement. Introduced company to potential investors and identified £500K of achievable annualised savings.

Duration: 1 month

End date: September 2013

 

Design & supply of plant for oils & Fats and oleo chemicals.

Situation faced:

Company owned by a PE Funds and Management under an LBO structure. Due to 2008 / 2009 crisis investment in this market decreased drastically. Refinancing and renegotiation of the debt was necessary.

Outcome achieved:

Complete review of the cost structure, change in the Management and executive reorganization. This has enabled the Group to renew with good profit (from 0 to 7%) and positive cash flow (+ 50 M€).

Duration: 2 years

End date: October 2011

 

Glass maker for high premium bottles of wine & spirits

Situation faced:

Company owned by two PE Funds and Management under an LBO structure. Needs to improve productivity and competitiveness in preparation for a secondary LBO.

Outcome achieved:

Optimisation of the financial and operational organisation of the Group and implemented new cost control processes. Despite the 2008 / 2009 crisis the level of profitability was maintained and covenants were achieved.

Duration: 14 months

End date: September 2009

Multitechnical services - Electrical and HVAC

Situation faced:

Desired change of shareholder. From an UK Engineering company to a Private Equity funds.

Outcome achieved:

Successfully managed to be acquired by the desired Private Equity funds at a satisfactory price for the previous shareholder (2x in 3 years) without endangering the future LBO. In the year following the acquisition, working capital has been improved by more than €100M

Duration: 2 years

End date: July 2007

 

 

Marketing of Levi branded retail clothing

Situation faced:

Sales administration costs had grown within Levis Europe much faster than business growth and operational requirements desired. A target savings of £10M (12% of current costs) was estimated.

Outcome achieved:

A small task force was formed to review the sales admin operations throughout tall the European subsidiaries. A benchmarking exercise was conducted to assess each operation. The targeted savings were met in their entirety through a mixture of staff reductions and process improvements. A further benefit was gained in forming a process transferring sales admin's best practices throughout the organisation.

Duration: 3 months

End date: June 2006

 

Secure logistics and cash management

Situation faced:

Start up and integration of three separate and culturally disparate security companies from German Administration. Previous management had committed large scale fraud and theft, over £500M.

Outcome achieved:

Company successfully started within stringent government regulations around the security industry. 61 Cash-handling locations , were combined to provide operational and manpower efficiencies (reduction of 50% in staffing and location) and logistic and operating processes. Oversaw integration of new acquisition and new route planning softwarewhich was to reduce total operating costs by 10%.

Duration: 13 months

End date: May 2008

Global manufacture and distribution of parquet flooring

Situation faced:

The Group, based in Zurich, Switzerland had breached its banking covenants and was loss-making. Main markets of Europe and the US were hit by the recession as house building starts and consumer confidence fell. Manufacturing operations in Sweden, France and Switzerland were high- cost and subject to intense competition from Chinese suppliers. 

Outcome achieved:

Manufacturing costs and staffing levels were reviewed and process improvements made where required. Other cost reduction programs were agreed and implemented. Reporting improvements were made and cash management processes implemented. A new 3 year Budget was created to support the necessary financial restructuring. The restructuring was agreed and implemented on time, including obtaining all Swiss tax approvals. Overall debt was reduced from £560M to £280M allowing the company time to ride the recession.

Duration: 11 Months

End date: May 2009

Freight forwarder - global subsidiaries

Situation faced:

The European group wanted to improve the Accounting & Finance function in Ireland, as there were significant shortcomings in accuracy, reporting & governance. The Department was badly led, untrained and its staff were generally insufficiently qualified, using antiquated accounting methods.

Outcome achieved:

Accounting & admin procedures and practices were overhauled extensively, and two, new computer systems were prepared, tested and implemented (one job costing and one accounting). Staff job descriptions were prepared and training was given in new procedures and practices to improve quality and reporting timetables (reduced from 4 weeks to 5 days). Finance operations were improved to produce £150k pa savings. also found and investigated an accounting discrepancy of over £1million.  Subsequently asked to conduct a similar review in the Danish operations, with similar problems and eventual results.

Duration: 8 months

End date: November 2002

Market Research: political and consumer research.

Situation faced:

Acted as CFO post 3i instigated MBO, as incumbent considered non-effective. Accounting and finance staff were at a low morale following a long MBO process. Accounting systems were bespoke, internally prepared and under supported within the IT department as well as very antiquated and rudimentary. The monthly reporting timetable was extremely labour intensive, onerous and not really fit-for-purpose - reports were prepared 6 - 8 weeks after the month end. Cash was not under control and AR was around 70 days with significant amounts overdue.

Outcome achieved:

Implemented much-needed finance discipline into the function around accounting and cash procedures (reducing AR to 31 days and improving cash flow by £1.4 million) and improving the monthly reporting to two weeks while at the same time improving the quality of management information (favourably commented on by senior Board members at the time).  

 We reviewed the IT Department staffing and capability and also selected and successfully introduced new external software (accounting and MIS systems) to replace the antiquated systems.    The company had to move to new premises and I project managed the investment required, £3million) and obtained Board approvalfor this and the acquisition of its first subsidiary, in Ireland.                                 

Duration: 1 year

End: February 2012                                 

 

Marketing and services distribution of cars (Ford, BMW, trucks (DAF, Volvo) and agricultural equipment( John Deere and Ford New Holland) as well as mining equipment (DEMAG machines).

Situation Faced:

A requirement arose for a CFO based in Latin America, providing oversight and control over the operations for the UK HQ Group. Centred in Santiago, Chile, substantial operations existed in Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Argentina.

Outcomes achieved:

Implemented new and improved controls over monthly reporting and financial forecasting. Developed refinancing for four affiliates obtaining £30million in new capital and £75 million in trade financeto fund operations. Identified and evaluated major strategic acquisitions (BMW in Chile, Ford in Peru and Fiat in Argentina- agrrenfield operation start up) and obtained UK Board approval via Capital Committees.  

Duration: 5 years

End: December 1996

Manufacture, sale and distribution of biological medicines

Situation faced:

Acquisition and carve out of a unique biological medicine from a US medical appliance company, Stryker. The Newco had no Finance or administrative personnel as these duties had been carried out by Stryker. All international operations were based out of Limerick, Ireland.


Outcome achieved:

Carved out the International operations from Stryker and started separate operations in Ireland. Set up the finance and administrative function in Limerick, Ireland and Lyon, France.  There also arose a needto establish tax-efficient processes to support taking over all product licenses for distribution within the EC and Rest of the World from Stryker and to be completed within an accelerated timeframe.

Duration: 1 year

End date: January 2012