No wonder Spicers Office Team (SPOT) owed millions - the group had a string of related firms dragged down by May’s collapse

An image used by Spicers Office Team (SPOT) to promote themselves

Spicers Office Team (SPOT) owed millions to creditors - who will rake over the ashes of the famous  firm on July 9

When Print Week broke then news that one of Western Europe’s largest office stationers and office suppliers went bust in May there was shock that the firm founded in 1835 owed so much cash.

The trade journal’s Jo Francis wrote: “Spicers Office Team (SPOT) owed paper and envelope suppliers almost £3m when it went into administration last month, with one paper manufacturer alone owed just under £1.86m. SPOT included Spicers and OfficeTeam, with some suppliers owed money by both. According to reports from administrators Hunter Kelly and Charles King at EY, Spicers Ltd owed creditors £44.5m at the time of administration, while OfficeTeam Ltd owed creditors just over £37m.”

She reported that paper and envelope suppliers are among the companies’ biggest creditors, with North American manufacturer Domtar owed just over £1.2m by OfficeTeam, and £650,904 by Spicers.

Long list of firms

One of the reasons was due to the string of related firms dragged down by the demise of Spicers with a virtual online meeting of creditors set to rake through the ashes on July 9. Throughout the day the creditors will examine OT Office Supplies Limited, Office Zone Limited, Whitegrove Group Limited, Pads Printing and Commercial Stationery Limited, Tewkesbury Limited, Stat-Plus Group Limited, OfficeTeam 2 Group Limited, Office Team group Limited and The Spicers Office Team Group Limited. There is also a deemed in consent meeting where the liquidators Charles Graham John King and Robert Hunter Kelly will seek a decision by creditors to agree to wind up a further nine related firms on the same day without a vote.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit said: “It’s a sad day for the office supplies industry as Spicers are one the oldest firms in the country that have seen 19th century recessions, the Great Depression and various recessions since then only to fall in 2020. Covid 19 has a lot to answer for but SPOT’s problems go back further with too many acquisitions, a declining market and accumulating debt. My heart goes to the suppliers , some of whom have taken a big hit from a famous name.”

Paragon swoops to buy assets

Jo Francis wrote at the time: “On 14 May Spicers Ltd went into administration and Paragon Data Analytics (subsequently renamed OT Group) acquired the Spicers assets in a pre-pack deal for £996,021, comprising the Five Star trademark (£50,000), Spicers stock (£821,021) and Spicers mezzanine and racking (£125,000).

“OT group will also collect the trade debtors book for a fee. On the same day OfficeTeam Ltd also went into administration. Paragon paid £1,003,979 for the OfficeTeam assets, also in a pre-pack, with the major elements comprising stock (£483,973), IT (£375,000), shares in Stat Company (£100,000) and plant and equipment (£45,000). Goodwill and customers contracts were purchased for £1 each. OT Group will also collect OfficeTeam debtors for a fee. Paragon Group has confirmed it was not one of the four confidential parties that made offers prior to SPOT’s administration.”

Paragon also acquired the Spicers Ireland business reported Print Week.

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