The channel casualties keep on coming thick and fast, with IT rentals specialist Microrent and HP reseller SHD Technology among the latest to go under.
A creditors' meeting for High Wycombe-based Microrent, which specialised in renting IT and audio-visual equipment such as desktops, tablets and projectors, has been set for 28 November. The firm started life 20 years ago as an Apple Mac rentals speciailst.
A representative for insolvency practitioner Hillier Hopkins Corporate said he expected that Microrent would be liquidated following the meeting.
One of the rental sector's largest players, Livingston, also sold up in June after encountering financial difficulties.
However, Hamish Forbes, sales manager at Aberdeen-based Apple rentals specialist Rent IT, claimed the sector has been relatively buoyant this year.
"We have seen an increase in both turnover and enquiry levels this year," he said. "We have dealt with Microrent in the past, but hadn't heard anything from them for a while. It is unfortunate to see this happen to any business in your market area, but we are doing okay," said Forbes.
Meanwhile, business advisory service ChannelMoney has been appointed to oversee the liquidation of Segensworth-based HP house SHD Technology.
ChannelMoney founder Nitin Joshi (pictured) said SHD's creditor position is "on the low side" and that the firm's managing director, Steve Gould, had retained the full backing of the supplier community.
"Steve is a highly respected channel player and whatever he does in the future he will be fully supported," Joshi said.
Gould said SHD had encountered cashflow problems following a failed attempt to crack the retail market. October sales fell to £106,000, down from the VAR's usual monthly haul of £450,000-500,000, and Gould promptly ceased trading at the start of November.
"I could have traded through to March and racked up massive debts," Gould said, adding that he plans to stay in the industry.
"I have never missed a bill in nine years of trading. My overriding concern was that no-one got hurt."
Dropping like flies
The UK IT channel has witnessed a rise in insolvencies this year, with the bodycount now up to about 100 a quarter, according to credit reference agency Graydon UK.
Eddie Pacey, managing director of EP Credit Management and Consultancy, said: "Forget national statistics, insolvency in this sector is on the rise. Banks are not supportive and have little or no grasp of annuity and managed service billing. This severely restricts receivables funding to wholly managed service companies and can be far more damaging for those moving to services and away from product supply."
Joshi agreed: "We have seen a substantial surge in formal insolvencies in the channel. All dealers and VARs are under enormous pressure."
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