177 UK Tour Operators industry are now classified as “Zombie” businesses. These companies have seen their performance deteriorate to such as extent that they now exist merely to pay off their debts and survive.
They are posting growing losses and, despite the obvious freeze in the credit markets, increasing their debts. These Zombie businesses have debts at an average of 70% of turnover – they exist to service their out of control liabilities. Many are also using their suppliers to finance their growing losses, taking twice as long as to pay their bills as the industry average of 26 days.
What's worse is they are falling behind the rest and their productivity is well below the industry average. It’s hard for them to compete as their cost base is just too high. As a result, investment plans have been mothballed meaning their aging assets are further restricting their ability to remain competitive.
So can these Zombies be saved? The first thing they need to do is sort out their immediate finances. They have to convince their banks and suppliers to keep supporting them or not pull the plug. If they can pull that off then the hard work really starts. They urgently need to stem their losses and control costs. The longer it takes them to address these issues, the harder and less likely it is they will ever fix them.
However, there are attractive takeover targets among the Zombies - canny investors could pick up a bargain. Some of these companies, stuck in a zombie state because of their balance sheet, have lots of potential for new owners to turn it around. We picked 109 companies that we feel have the most potential.
Those unable to attract new buyers may have simply had their day. A combination of aging assets, rising losses and increasing debts mean they are unlikely to attract a suitor before the receivers are called. They will be forced back into negotiations with their lenders to buy more time but their future doesn’t look good.
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It will tell you instantly which companies are prospering in the post recession market place, those taking a big gamble and those in trouble. It gives an instant performance rating on 1000 companies and highlights those ripe for acquisition.