Considerations for Business Coming Out of Lockdown
Now that most states are out of lockdown, our phone lines are starting to get busy again with directors thinking about what trading looks like in the next “new normal”.
If you have a viable business, the best case scenario is you pay the past debts and just get back to trade. If you have a viable business for the future, but a too large a debt burden then consider Voluntary Administration or Small Business Restructuring. If things are not viable and it looks like there is no hope, our position is it is a good time to do a liquidation because whilst the COVID goodwill continues, creditors are less likely to exercise personal guarantee rights or ATO personal liability clauses.
Here’s what we are hearing about the major creditor groups:
In a recent seminar with liquidators the ATO said they are pursuing debts with a “help and assistance” program. Their approach continues to be about compliance and not yet enforcement, and it’s likely to stay that way into the new year.
We have heard about some Director Penalty Notices, and Intent to Report to Credit Agencies issued but only a handful.
The word from big banks is they are keen to lend money, and are likely to continue to go easy on chasing existing debt into the new year.
Landlords are an area to watch closely. There has been some state government assistance but with a mountain of deferred rent they must be hurting. When the state by state eviction and lock out moratoriums end towards the end of the year, this might be one of the first danger areas for small business tenants.
The new provisions for guarantee of perishable stock in NSW make it sound like lockdowns will not disappear completely.
Check with your state government, each has various programs to kick start business out of the lockdowns.