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How To Liquidate A Company With No Money: Your Options

May 10, 2024 Hasib Howlader How To Liquidate A Company With No Money: Your Options

Understanding how to liquidate a company with no money can be complex – and daunting – for any business owner.

Running a business can be a rollercoaster and sometimes, in spite of your best efforts, you may find yourself facing the difficult decision of liquidating your company. 

This process becomes even more challenging if your business has no money.

In this blog, we are going to explore how to liquidate a company with no money, discussing various options and providing insights to help you navigate this complex situation. 

Understanding liquidation

Liquidation is the process of winding up a company's affairs, selling off its assets and using the proceeds to pay off creditors. 

Once the liquidation is complete, the company ceases to exist. There are different types of liquidation: Creditors' Voluntary Liquidation (CVL), Compulsory Liquidation, and Members' Voluntary Liquidation (MVL). In a CVL, the directors and shareholders initiate the process when the company is insolvent and cannot pay its debts. 

Compulsory Liquidation is forced by a court order, usually initiated by creditors who have not been paid. Meanwhile, an MVL is an option when the company is solvent but the directors and shareholders decide to wind it up.

Challenges of liquidating a company with no money

When a company has no money, traditional liquidation processes can be tricky financially.

Liquidation involves legal fees, administrative costs, and the appointment of a licensed insolvency practitioner.

For companies with no funds, these costs can seem insurmountable. However, there are options available to address this challenge.

Options for liquidating a company with no money

Using company assets

It’s common to fund a liquidation through the sale of company assets – such as stock, machinery or vehicles for example.

If the business is cash poor but still has some sellable assets then this may be one way to pay for liquidation services.

However, it’s important to seek advice from an insolvency practitioner first. Depending on the debts the business has, the sale of assets may need to fund paying back creditors first and foremost.

Creditors' Voluntary Liquidation (CVL) instead of compulsory liquidation

In a CVL, the directors acknowledge that the company is insolvent and voluntarily decide to liquidate. 

While this process incurs costs, it is often less expensive than compulsory liquidation. The directors hold a meeting to agree on the company's insolvency and the decision to liquidate. 

An insolvency practitioner handles the liquidation process. Previously we’ve written about what an insolvency practitioner is and how it differs from a liquidator.

They will assess the company's financial situation and manage asset sales (if any) and creditor claims. 

If the company has no money or assets to pay for the CVL, directors might consider options such as personal contributions, selling company assets, or negotiating a payment plan with the insolvency practitioner.

No asset liquidations

A ‘no asset’ liquidation is for companies with no significant assets. In this scenario, the liquidation costs are minimal and the focus is on closing the company in a straightforward manner. 

The process for this type of CVL is relatively simple since there are no assets to distribute and the costs are low, often just covering administrative expenses and fees. 

Since the business has neither money nor assets though, directors will likely need to fund the process themselves. An insolvency practitioner should still have a role to ensure the legal requirements are met.

Director redundancy

Another potential way to pay for a CVL when the business has no money is by claiming director redundancy after working at the company for at least two years. Here is our guide to making a redundancy claim.

There is a list of eligibility criteria for directors claiming redundancy pay. Those not eligible could still apply to the Redundancy Payments Service, part of the Insolvency Service.

Keep in mind that dissolving a business removes the option to claim director redundancy pay. We cover this topic in our explainer on what happens to directors of a dissolved company.

Seeking professional advice

Navigating the liquidation process, especially for a company with no money, requires careful consideration and expert advice. 

Engaging a licensed insolvency practitioner is crucial to ensure compliance with legal requirements and to explore the most suitable option for your situation. 

They provide expert guidance, handle negotiations with creditors, and ensure compliance with insolvency laws, thereby reducing stress for directors and facilitating a smoother liquidation process.

The above options are all preferable to a compulsory liquidation. This occurs when a creditor pays and petitions the courts to wind up the company due to unpaid debts.

If the court grants the petition, the official receiver (a government official) manages the liquidation.

The official receiver will sell any company assets and distribute proceeds to creditors. It can be stressful for directors and damage their reputation.

Summary: How to liquidate a company with no money

Liquidating a company with no money is undoubtedly tricky, but is not an insurmountable challenge.

By understanding your options and seeking professional advice, you can navigate this difficult situation with greater confidence.

Here at Hudson Weir, we specialise in providing tailored insolvency solutions to help businesses navigate financial difficulties. Keep in mind that every business situation is unique – professional advice, tailored to yours, is advised.

Our expert insolvency practitioners are here to guide you through every step of the process, ensuring you make informed decisions and achieve the best possible outcome.

Our experienced team is here to help you find the right solution and support you through this challenging time.

If you are facing the prospect of liquidating a company with no money, contact us today for a no-obligation chat.

ACCAThe Association of International AccountantsICAEW Authorised Training EmployerICAEW Licensed Insolvency Practitioners (UK)Insolvency Practitioners AssociationR3
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Hudson Weir are an established firm of Insolvency Practitioners who specialise in business recovery and corporate financial solutions.

Hudson Weir provides industry leading, nationwide services for its clients with the intention of easing financial pressures and providing recovery strategies for struggling businesses.

Hudson Weir Ltd (Company number 09477593) is a company registered in England and Wales.

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