The latest news from the financial sector.
Businesses paying faster
Businesses are paying their bills significantly faster this year than they were last year, according to the Experian Late Payment Index.
The analysis shows that during Q2 2010 UK businesses paid their bills an average of 20.99 days late compared to 23.61 days late in Q2 2009.
Businesses in the South East registered the biggest improvement in payment performance in this period, settling accounts on average 16.32 days after the payment is due, down from an average of 20.08 days over the same period last year.
Only businesses in the South West paid faster. They were 15.83 days late.
Experian said that the UK’s largest businesses remain among the slowest payers.
Willerby loosens the iron fist
Former Manufacturer of the Year Willerby Holiday Homes has agreed a £40m refinancing package from Royal Bank of Scotland’s asset and invoice finance divisions.
The Hull based caravan manufacturer took the top honours at The Manufacturer of the Year Awards – the annual industry celebration event hosted by The Manufacturer – in 2008.
Now it has announced a refinancing package from RBS which comprises £20m from the Invoice Finance department and a further £20m of asset based lending from the bank’s Lombard division.
The money is going to be used for growth within the business and the implementation of a credit facility for dealers to use in acquiring demonstration stock from Willerby.
Andy Pickford, corporate development director of RBS Invoice Finance, worked with Willerby to secure the deal. “Willerby Holiday Homes has a great track record, has significantly outperformed the rest of the market through the downturn and is well placed to capitalise on its strengths and grow its market share,” he said. “We are thrilled to have structured a flexible working capital package to help this UK manufacturer develop the business further.”
Fewer firms in administration
The number of UK manufacturing companies falling into administration has fallen dramatically in the first six months of 2010, according to figures from accountants Deloitte.
There were 167 manufacturing administrations from January to June this year.
This is down from 311 in the same period last year and constitutes a 46% fall. This was the second best level of improvement, beaten only by the retail sector.
Figures accounting for all businesses roughly followed suit, down 43% from 1856 to 1065.
Tate & Lyle is selling its sugar business, including UK refineries and its London Golden Syrup factory, to American Sugar Refining in a £211m deal.
The company is famous for its sugar in the UK but also makes industrial food ingredients for processed food and says it will now focus on this side of its business.
“Sugar refining has enjoyed a long and proud history within Tate & Lyle, but we believe the interests of this business and its employees are now best served by being part of a company for whom sugar refining is core,” said Tate & Lyle chief executive Javed Ahmed. “I sincerely thank our employees for their hard work and commitment over the years, and wish them every success in the future.” The proceeds from this deal will go towards reducing the company’s £814m debt.
UK electronics contract manufacturer Exception has secured a refinancing package that puts the Wiltshire-based company back on track for growth.
The finance package secures the expansion of new facilities and reduces the debt on the company’s balance sheet by £12.7m. The deal financed by Lloyds Banking Group.
Exception is aiming to increase annual turnover from a low point last year of £45m to £70m over the next two to three years. This, it says, will back its abilities to provide high quality electronics manufacturing solutions to specialist industrial markets including medical devices, energy, aerospace, process control, transportation and communications.