Business Case Study 2 – Independent Cargo Handling

“Thunderbirds are go”

Provider:

Horus Consulting
Heathrow Airport
2010/2011

Introduction:

The business was a small independent cargo handling agent operating out of London’s Heathrow airport. It handled the operations of a US, Turkish and Indian Airline covering everything from firearms to tropical fish.

The company had recently changed hands for a nominal sum of £1 and little due diligence had been done into its current financial status whilst HMRC had just petitioned a winding up order on the company.

The purpose of the assignment was to:

Assess the viability of the company and whether its current financial status could improve

Perform the necessary due dilligence and advise the board of the outcome

Build effective relationships quickly in order to make the recommendation.

Analysis:

This was conducted through meetings with the Managing Director, key advisor and board of the acquiring company over five months clarifying the key issues facing the business. During this time a full review of all expenditure was undertaken, with unnecessary and non-core costs being curtailed.

The team role analysis revealed that the management team had a good General Manager who knew the business well but was not sufficiently client facing, a management advisor who was seriously lacking in any business acumen and solid operations & security managers who ensured the company was compliant at all times. (Compliance is the key issue in aviation).

The assignment tried to analyse whether by stripping out the high cost base and reaching agreement with both the landlord and the crown whether the company had a viable business model.

Development:

  1. Team role Analysis to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the team
  2. Entering discussions with key creditors, notably the crown, landlord and banks
  3. Curtailing all unnecessary expenditure and staff
  4. Consider whether remaining “on airport” was essential to the survival of the company
  5. Provide constant up to date financial information to all stakeholders
  6. Ensuring that all cash out was matched by cash in

Other premises were reviewed in addition to nurturing current clients.

Outcomes:

  1. Landlord was willing to renegotiate the rent (the biggest single cost)
  2. Due diligence revealed that the current business model was not economically viable
  3. HMRC and the banks were reluctant to support the venture
  4. Recommendation was that the company should be wound up