Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Fieldcandy, tent makers, collapses into administration and is sold in a prepacked deal leaving investors penniless

This is an odd tale. Fieldcandy (co# 08326947) raised £417k (£370 net), twice its target, on Crowdcube in 2015. The same company went into administration in February this year. The administrator's report states that at the time of the Crowdcube raise the company was already in considerable difficulty - recognised by the company's directors.

So pretty well as you would expect so far a Crowdcube funded company. But wait.....

The Fieldcandy website is still active and is apparently run and owned by Terra Nova Equipment Ltd - via that old sidestep, the pre packed deal. Terra is in turn owned by Hubaco. Terra purchased the company for £25k  - Crowdcube had it valued at £2.2m. Hubaco are clients of the appointed Insolvency Practitioner Smith Cooper.

Things get really really odd if you look at the real accounts and the verified accounts in the administrators report and compare these with the pitch documents verified by FCA regulated Crowdcube.

YE Dec 2015 - so the year that the pitch completed (August) and the year after the company knew it was in trouble.

Real accounts show revenues of £352k and the Crowdcube figures show £700k.
Real accounts show losses for year of £(186k), Crowdcube show a profit of £3k

Remember these Crowdcube figures were verified by the CC DD Dept and August was already 2/3 of the way through Feildcandy's year.

If we now turn to YE Dec 2016, things are even worse.

Real accounts (management to October 16)  revenues £293k and losses £(25k) on large cost cuts
Crowdcube version to Dec 16                        revenues £1.3m and profits of £139k

The intangible assets worth over £400k on the books have been sold for £1250. There is no hope, according to the report, of any non secured creditors getting anything back.

In total the company will leave debts of £1.14m.

Of course Luke Lang will trot out the usual crap about how this couldnt happen now and anyway its not our fault and you will always get failures and look how much people made on Camden (not much actually) and we are on target to become a very successful company and we should know.

The problem here is clear. The administration has verified that the company knew in 2014 that its sales targets would not be met and its costs were spiralling. As a last resort they went to Crowdcube to fleece investors, who were given a very different story by the platform. The administrator states that the two directors knew at the time they raised the Crowdcube money, that expenses were too high and that this would not be enough money to continue the company. This information was very clearly concealed from Crowdcube investors.

The company had some large and prominent investors but there is simply no mention anywhere in the Crowdcube pitch of the situation we now know to be the truth - the company strategy was already flawed. Talk about taking Crowdcube investors for suckers.

Can one get any closer to a con? How many more scandals before the FCA does something...anything?

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