Questions raised by creditors over Fox Marketing Services MC Limited’s Statement of Affairs

Company boss scrutinised over '£455,000 listed to creditor with similar name to collapsed Fox firm'

Paper merchants and print industry suppliers have raised questions over the conduct of affairs around the demise of Fox Marketing Services MC Limited and similarly named companies.

One of the creditors who wished to remain anonymous said there were suspicions that the managing director of Fox Marketing Services MC Limited Kevin Stanton (pictured) may have tried to lower his exposure if things went wrong by ‘shifting the money around’ to a separate firm. The firm in question was Fox Marketing Solutions Limited.

This week Fox Marketing Services MC Limited was due to have a creditors meeting but a majority of the creditors opposed the plan as one of the creditors Fox Marketing Solutions Limited was owed a total of over £455,000.

The statutory accounts for 2019 indicate that Fox Marketing Solutions Limited owed Fox Marketing Services MC Limited £1.34m and it was this swing from debit to credit that aroused suspicions.

Firms 'one and the same'

Anecdotally some creditors felt the two Fox firms were essentially allegedly ‘one and the same’ except one had ‘all the costs and one had all the benefits.’

On April 17, Print Week reported Fox Marketing Solutions Limited had gone into voluntary liquidation over an issue over their lease and the effects of Covid-19 hitting business.

Writing for the trade magazine Jo Francis said: “The Tunbridge Wells company is the litho printing wing of the £13m turnover Fox Group, and had sales of around £9m.” She continued: “Fox Marketing Services MC employed around 60 staff and ran a five-colour plus coater Speedmaster XL 106 plus bindery and finishing kit. Employees were informed that their roles were redundant with immediate effect, as of 14 April.”

She said suppliers to the business had expressed shock at the situation as Fox ‘made a good profit and have been really healthy as a business.’ ICSM Credit’s sources describe the demise as a ‘bolt from the blue’ and it was felt although Covid-19 was taking down some firms it was not felt Fox would be one of them.

Creditors owed millions

In the meantime unsecured creditors are owed more than £2m and are unlikely to see much if any of their money. Antalis have taken a £154,738 hit, a local courier company in Tunbridge Wells has lost over £10,000 and Close Brothers Finance more than £1m.

ICSM Credit’s Ian Carrotte said this was a very serious situation for a string of trade suppliers with paper merchants owed more than £250,000 and various suppliers of envelopes and graphic supplies owed thousands.

“This is a classic case where a company with a good name in the business has ceased trading suddenly leaving suppliers high and dry,” he said. “Paper merchants alone are owed more than a quarter of a million pounds while logistic firms and couriers have also been dumped on. The inquest into what has happened is only just starting and creditors will want to have some hard questions answered.”

With the creditors meeting abandoned on Wednesday the question is what happens next? ICSM Credit will update the story when more information is available.

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