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The Big Picture: Picking up the pieces

What a mess. Financial irregularities; over-stated promises to the City; suspension of company shares; profit warnings; mounting debts of £129m; the death of its founder and figurehead – the demise of Carter & Carter has been a huge story.

Ultimately, it took a decision from the banks not to increase Carter & Carter’s borrowings to bring the business crashing down, although the writing had been on the wall since its shares were suspended in October. At that point they had slumped from almost £13 per share, giving a market cap of £526m to just 82.5p, valuing the company at just £34m.

That the company crashed so soon after the death of founder and talisman Phillip Carter was no coincidence. Without his ability to charm the City, all of Carter & Carter’s shortcomings quickly came home to roost. No-one could stop the tide of bad news.

Had he not died, would the outcome have been different? Given what we now know about the business, it’s likely that Carter could’ve only delayed the inevitable.

What happens now to the 2,000 employees, 25,000 learners (including 10,000 apprentices) and 28 carmakers with which Carter & Carter has some form of training or consultancy contract? There have already been closures and redundancies; more will follow.

There has been speculation about the RMIF buying back Remit, but Remit no longer exists – like Emtec before, it has been absorbed into the Carter & Carter set up. One bit of cheer for the RMIF is that it has received almost all the money owed by Carter & Carter. Part of the £25.5m fee was deferred, but AM understands that less than £1m is outstanding.

Carter & Carter puts into sharp focus the issues about sector domination. It also highlights the folly of those manufacturers who put all their eggs into one basket, like VW Group. Break-up is inevitable.

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