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Robson Liddle

Arms' Length NPS

The opinions and hopes of 2010 were hopelessly out of line with reality, despite the fact that various reasons were given for showing the outcome not to be optimistic. Did Director Robson know something of which NPS was unaware when he stepped down?

The strength of the balance sheet relies overwhelmingly on an intangible asset which may be the premium on acquisition or it may have existed in history - no matter, whatever it is the asset isnot paying its way to a monumental degree. Without its inclusion the company is on the edge of the precipice - question - how is the company still able to hang it hat on "continuing" when the only continuity seems to be the rate of decline. Surely, this operation is not another example of local authorities hiving off activities to leave them in incapable hands - despite accolades in the form of accreditation for environmental managemetn and also the heavy input of business from fellow subsidiaries.

In a word the acquisition of the company should not have taken place in this form, if at all. Perhaps an asset purchase leaving the losses and overvaluation to the owners to sort out.

Robson Liddle Ltd
(Parent company is NPS Property Consultants Ltd)

Report of the Directors - year 31/1/2010
It looks as if the NPS Group acquired Robson Liddle prior to March 2008.
Trading results for the 2010 report showed a very small pre-tax profit (£38,000 following a catastrophic nine months to 31/1/2008 with a loss (pre-tax) of £308,000).  The disaster was due in th emain to downturn in traditional markets (credit crunch) and the "recovery" is entirely due to injection of business from fellow subsidiaries.  Question - who was doing that business before - outsiders? In-house expertise?  Bear in mind  that the main activity of Robson Liddle is that of property consultants in various areas (one of which for the record is contaminated land management).  No information is available on the shape/cost of the acquisition by NPS.  Whatever the deal, it is almost certain that NPS acquired a large "asset" in the shape of "tell tale" goodwill i.e., buying into an immediate loss.

Next year's accounts should be of more than ordinary interest. A big and continuing recovery is needed to bite into the profit and loss deficit accumulated of nearly £400,000 and turnover is still only £1,300,000.

Finance is made available by the group - none external. This provides also comfort to the auditors via a "suypport for twelve months" promise.

Directors - Robson resigned 17/07/08 and Appleton appointed 1/8/09.  Britc continues.

Is the lesson not that we have seen more and more the failure of in house council functions being transferred to incorporated companies; the finance and management of local authorities is unique in that, while expertise is required, the top echelon - councillors - are more like trustees for the funds of the population under their care.

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