Major helicopter conference organiser goes into administration

Major helicopter conference organiser goes into administration

20-Jul-2012 Source: HeliHub.com

Shephard Conferences and Exhibitions, well known UK-based organiser of Heli-Asia, Heli-Power, Heli-Pacific, Heli Middle-East, SAR Europe and many other industry events over the years, has gone into Administration.  A press release shows that three of the four partners of insolvency practice ReSolve were appointed Joint Administrators on 4th July, and their stated aim is to sell the business on – although industry sources tell HeliHub.com that it has been for sale for at least 2-3 years now, so an onward sale would seem less likely.

Shephard Conferences and Exhibitions was part of the Shephard Group, and in line with the Administration situation, there is no longer any reference to events on their website.  The Shephard companies were set up by Alexander Shephard in Burnham UK some 25-30 years ago, and sold by him in 2008.  He retained ownership of the offices at Burnham through another company, and the business moved to premises in nearby Slough.

The purchasers of the trading companies were Nick Prest and Alexander Giles, who set up the company Shephard Group Ltd as their “purchasing vehicle” – Mr Prest with 80% of the shares, and Mr Giles the remaining 20%.  Mr Giles became CEO with the day-to-day responsibility of running the companies.  Mr Giles no longer works for Shephard (see below), and the Shephard contact page shows Publications Director Darren Lake has been promoted in his place with the title “Managing Director and Land and Support Editor”.

Our research of documents available to the public via the UK Government “Companies House” organisation show a difficult situation in the most recent published accounts – for the year to 31st December 2010.  The accounts for parent company Shephard Group Ltd show three fully-owned subsidiaries – Shephard Conferences and Exhibitions Ltd, Shephard Press Ltd and Defence Event Management Ltd, more details on each below

 * Shephard Conferences and Exhibitions Ltd accounts show a negative balance of £339,657 in the accumulated profit and loss account.  This is the company now in Adminstration.

 * Shephard Press Ltd accounts showed a negative balance of £317,293 in the accumulated profit and loss account.  The business of this company is what remains in the Shephard Group – publishing magazines and directories.

 * Defence Event Management Ltd “DEM” was owned and run by Alexander Giles prior to him joining Shephard as CEO, and had a turnover of £458,599 and profit before tax of just £2,475 in the year to April 2007.  Industry sources tell us that the trading activities of DEM were merged into the Group, indicating that it was Mr Giles’ event management skills that were particularly useful to the Shephard organisation. Consistent with the merger of DEM’s activities into Shephard,  DEM ceased to exist as a company in 2009 and Mr Giles signed the “Application for striking off” document on 24 March 2009.  But it  was still referred to in the published Shephard Group accounts for the year to December 2010 (which he signed off 24th May 2011), which is clearly inaccurate.

Those accounts show the three  subsidiaries as Investments with a value at a total cost of £264,000 – despite one not existing and the other two with combined losses of £656,950.  Remember too that these figures are  at 31 December 2010, and a further 18 months of trading has ensued, resulting in one subsidiary being put into Administration – and the Managing Director with his event management experience – leaving his job.

Alexander Giles has always been very active on the business networking site LinkedIn.com and has shown an amazing propensity to link to other people and widen his contact network – he has long since passed the 500 mark where LinkedIn just list the number of  direct contacts as “500+” instead of the actual number.  He now lists his roles on the site as follows

From this we add these notes

 * Speartip Ltd is a new company set up by Mr Giles.  It was incorporated on 9th July 2012 with company number 8135666 and has a Twitter feed @SpeartipGlobal

 * The Heli-UV show being referred to was set up by Shephard Conferences and Events and the first run of this event was a joint project with IDYB.  Shephard Conferences & Exhibitions Ltd were promoting the second run of this events online here, where it refers to the “sell out inauguaral show”

One further thing caught our eye.  LinkedIn.com give users the option to briefly describe each job role they list.  Under his role as CEO for Shephard Group, Alexander Giles describes his role as “Herding cats” (we have added the red marks so you see it clearly) which the fallible Wikipedia tells us is “An idiomatic saying that refers to an attempt to control or organize a class of entities which are uncontrollable or chaotic. Implies a task that is extremely difficult or impossible to do, primarily due to chaotic factors.”

Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com

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