27 August 2010
The founder and owner of Quayside Corporate Services — a self-styled turnaround consultancy that was pivotal to the Bank of Scotland Reading scandal — has lately been stepping down from a surprising number of boards.
In June David Mills, 53, quit the board of Cardiff-based revolving credit company Clode Group Holdings, as well the boards of subsidiaries Clode Retail Finance, Clode Holdings, Clode Funding, Medi-Fi, DMA Finance and V-12 Holdings.
Intriguingly auditors PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) slapped a “going concern” health warning on Clode Group Holdings in inaugural financial statements for the new holding company, which related to the period March 31st, 2009. The accounts were not signed off — by PWC senior statutory auditor Kevin Williams — until April 29th, 2010.
In accounts for the four months ended March 31st, 2009, PWC said there was no certainty Clode could survive the next 12 months owing to uncertainty over its ability to renegotiate its borrowing facilities. As at March 2009, the company said it had net debts of £41.45m, the bulk of which is understood to be owed to HBOS/Lloyds Banking Group. The auditors said: “This indicates the existence of a material uncertainty which may cast doubt about the group’s and the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”
In the four months to March 31st, 2009, Clode Group Holdings and its subsidies paid £85,640 to Mills in “directors and consultancy fees” (which equates to a sum of £21,410 per month). The company also paid service and rental charges of £34,000 (=£8,500 per month) to Red Flower Property, a business 42%-owned by Mills. Clode also paid a “rental deposit” of £124,550 to Red Flower and the accounts stated that Clode is owed £125,000 by Red Flower Property.
Other companies from which Mills has recently resigned include the Aim-listed surveillance specialist Petards Group PLC. He left its board at the time of a capital reorganization on June 24, 2010. Mills has also resigned from the board of international business risk consultancy Greymans (now in liquidation, according to Companies House) on December 31, 2009. Intriguingly Mills only joined the board of the Theale-based company in July 2009. Mills also left the board of Creditworks UK on June 28th, 2010.
Hmmm. All very intriguing.
The only companies on whose boards Mills remains a director are The Sandstone Organisation, Core Enterprise Management, Mint Partners, Knightingale Investments, Monkey Puzzle Developments, Red Flower Property, S&D Realisations (in administration) and Cop Realisations (in administration).
Mills may also remain as a director of Quest Aviation Services, which was permitted by HBOS and administrators PWC to acquire the assets of bust aviation group Corporate Jet Services, where Mills was also a director, for an initial sum of £7 in September 2007. Mills’s exact role at Quest — whose directors include Robin Southwell, Tony Shakesby and Dave Jackson — remains unclear. According to internal documents he was a Quest director in 2008, but for some reason the role was never recorded at Companies House.
CJS is now the subject of a compulsory liquidation, with insolvency practitioner Elliot Green, a partner in Oury Clark, poring over the details of a September 2007 administration organized by PwC which was surprisingly forgiving to a failed management team and unfair to major creditors including Guernsey-based plane leasing company CALL Aircraft Leasing.
On David Mills’ page on the FSA Register website, the “disciplinary history” section remains a blank canvas. Bizarrely, given he stepped down two months ago, Mills is at the time of writing still recorded as an active director of Clode Retail Finance on the same website. As usual, the FSA is remarkably on the ball!!
With more time on his hands, one wonders if Mills will be spending more time messing about in boats (such as the one pictured above, or perhaps a similar vessel called the Powder Monkey) in the Mediterranean?