Lincs Lift and a new company name
Following the failure of UK based rental company Lincs Lifts last month, a new company has emerged at the same location, with the same telephone number, but with different but familiar company name.
Lincs Lifts officially appointed an administrator on April 15th, having filed a motion of the Intent to File for Administration in mid March
after struggling for a few months with liquidity issues, following several years of rapid growth. A month earlier a new company was formed called Access Hire UK Ltd, which was officially incorporated on the 20th February. The name of that company was then changed to Vertikal-UK Ltd - which has nothing whatsoever to do with the Vertikal Press, Vertikal Height Services, Vertikal Transportation and other companies that use or have used the name.
Vertikal-UK has a single director and shareholder - Permjit Singh - who also owns a small company called Blaxiom, which according to the latest accounts filed at Companies House has a negative net worth, and negative working capital.
We have now received confirmation that Vertikal-UK has purchased the Lincs Lifts name and customer base while taking over the phone number – essentially it has acquired the non-tangible assets of the business - the goodwill and intellectual property - from the administrator. It has also been granted a licence to rent the Lincs Lifts premises with a view to taking over the lease at some point in the future. The Lincs Lifts equipment and vehicles were mostly financed, with the company having no significant equity in them. One assumes that the new company is negotiating to take over the leases of the machines or company vehicles that they want for the new business, while any others will be rounded up, collected and put up for sale. We also understand that the new company has hired at least some of the Lincs Lifts staff. A letter to customers says: "Please be assured that we continue to operate with the same highly trained professional staff and the quality machines that you had become accustomed to."
Lincs Lifts owner Wayne Grainger does not appear to work for the new company in any official capacity, although we have been informed that he is the sales manager for the new business. We have made efforts to contact him over the past two weeks, but so far have not received a response.
Customers are being told, by some staff that Lincs Lifts has been acquired by the Vertikal group - although there is no Vertikal Group - with a web address shown on the new company’s emails going to a page saying “Launching Soon”. The letter from the company states that Links Lifts Ltd has been acquired by Vertikal-UK Ltd - this is not strictly true.
Several Lincs Lifts suppliers/creditors have, on the other hand, been told that Vertikal UK is a completely new business and that Lincs Lifts Ltd is in administration, which is entirely accurate. It looks almost certain that Lincs Lifts suppliers with outstanding invoices will not receive anything from the winding up of the business, even though some claim to have provided equipment or services to the company in the period leading up to the administration.
Why anyone setting up a new business such as this would chose to use the Vertikal name when it can so easily be confused with other companies in the lifting world is a mystery. Lincs Lift had a strong brand image and looked like a very impressive operation - certainly to an outsider. Given the number of calls we have received over the past two weeks, many of its creditors are now struggling during what is already a tough period, and are upset by the developments. Some good has come out though - with some staff being re-employed, the landlord being paid again, along with at least some of the finance houses. Can it be right though that a company that over expanded can simply shed its liabilities and start up again so quickly? It is certainly legal and this sort of practice goes on all the time in a number of countries, whether it is morally right is another thing.