Understanding Voluntary Administration – Legal Reader

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Opting for Voluntary Administration empowers a business to access professional advice, evaluate its financial standing, and devise a comprehensive plan for repaying creditors.


Managing a company’s debts is often a formidable challenge. Seeking expert advice can often prove invaluable, especially regarding Voluntary Administration services that offer an effective means to address issues to steer a company towards recovery.

Administrators, serving as independent advisers, possess unique qualifications to assist businesses in overcoming financial hardships. Drawing on extensive experience in Liquidation, an Administrator can evaluate your business’s status and formulate a comprehensive plan that serves the interests of all stakeholders, including employees, creditors, directors, and shareholders.

Given the intricacies of Voluntary Administration, this article will delve into the fundamentals to provide an understanding of the Voluntary Administration process.

What is Voluntary Administration?

Voluntary Administration is a process designed to address the challenges that arise when companies incur debt as a routine part of their operations. While acquiring new debt can facilitate business expansion, the management and repayment of these debts become daunting, especially if a company deviates from its projected operations. In the worst-case scenario, a business may find itself unable to meet its debt obligations, resulting in a state known as insolvency.

Even during insolvency, creditors retain the right to seek repayment, potentially leading to Liquidation. This outcome may not be a favourable resolution for creditors, employees, directors, shareholders, and other stakeholders.

If the company’s directors acknowledge the financial challenges, they have the option to choose Voluntary Administration instead. Opting for Voluntary Administration empowers a business to access professional advice, evaluate its financial standing, and devise a comprehensive plan for repaying creditors. This approach enhances outcomes for all parties involved and can serve as a lifeline to rescue the business from the prospect of Liquidation.

The Process of Voluntary Administration

The initiation of the Voluntary Administration process requires a majority decision from the company’s directors. In a convened meeting, directors can cast their votes to appoint an Administrator. Upon the approval of the motion, the Administrator promptly assumes control of the company, overseeing its day-to-day operations, managing assets, handling debts, and supervising other activities.

With the Administrator at the helm, a comprehensive analysis of the company’s situation begins. This involves scrutinising financial affairs, evaluating assets, probing for indications of directorial or managerial misconduct, and determining the company’s ability to meet its obligations to creditors.

This relatively expeditious process unfolds over a span of 25 to 30 business days. Throughout this period, the Administrator engages in meetings with creditors, providing updates on discoveries and recommendations. Upon the conclusion of investigations, the Administrator convenes a final meeting with creditors to present findings and propose a course of action.

What Happens At The End of Voluntary Administration

The conclusion of the Administration period coincides with the Administrator’s thorough investigation into the company’s financial status and the determination of the optimal course of action. This process is carried out collaboratively with the company’s directors and is overseen by the creditors.

Upon the completion of these investigations, the Administrator presents one of three recommendations to the creditors. The Administrator may propose:

Image by Alexander Stein, via Pixabay.com, CC0.
  1. Returning control of the company to the directors, allowing the business to resume normal operations.
  2. Formulating and implementing a Deed of Company Arrangement, enabling the company to repay some or all of its debts while potentially continuing to trade.
  3. Initiating Liquidation of the company.

The Administrator’s role is to impartially present their findings, leaving the ultimate decision on the preferred course of action to the creditors. As Liquidation typically results in diminished returns for creditors, a Deed of Company Arrangement is favoured whenever feasible.

What is a Deed of Company Arrangement?

A Deed of Company Arrangement (DOCA) constitutes a formal agreement between a company and its creditors, outlining the terms for the repayment of some or all of its debts. This often involves the company sustaining its operations while making more manageable payments over an extended timeframe.

The Administrator is responsible for formulating a DOCA when deemed appropriate. This approach is particularly beneficial if the company possesses the capability to repay its debts over an extended period, yielding improved returns for creditors and potentially averting the need for Liquidation.

Upon approval, the DOCA becomes legally binding for all creditors, regardless of their individual votes on the agreement. Approval requires a majority vote from creditors, both in number and in value.

Failure to adhere to the DOCA’s terms triggers an immediate transition to Liquidation. Furthermore, the terms of a DOCA can undergo variation or renegotiation throughout the designated DOCA period.

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