Facing financial difficulties does not necessarily mean a company must liquidate.

My guide outlines alternatives to closing a company via liquidation. Each offers a unique approach for an insolvent company to address core financial challenges.

What are the Alternatives to Liquidation?

Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA)

A CVA is a flexible agreement that enables a company to settle its debts by paying only a portion of the amount owed to creditors or by rescheduling payments. Managed by an insolvency practitioner, it requires the approval of 75% of creditors by debt value and protects the company from legal action during the arrangement.

>>Discover more in our detailed article on Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA)


When a company is in administration, an insolvency practitioner (IP) is appointed as the administrator. The goal is to rescue the company as a going concern or achieve a better result for the creditors than would be likely if the company were wound up.

Administration offers protection from legal actions by creditors, allowing the administrator to explore the best options for recovery. The process can be initiated by the company’s directors, its creditors, or via a court order.

The administrator’s tasks include reviewing the company’s financial situation, making operational adjustments, and negotiating with creditors. Ultimately, the aim is to either save the company, sell the business as a going concern, or realise assets to pay off creditors.

>>Learn more in our Administration guide

Selling Assets or Parts of the Business

In some circumstances, selling assets or parts of the business can be a strategic move to generate immediate cash flow, reduce debts, and potentially avoid more drastic measures like liquidation.

This approach requires careful evaluation of which assets are surplus to requirements or which segments of the business could be sold without jeopardising the core operations. The sale can provide vital breathing space for the company, allowing it to continue trading in a more focused and sustainable manner.

Refinancing and Restructuring

Refinancing and restructuring are pivotal for companies looking to alter their debt profile and operational setup without entering into formal insolvency procedures.

Refinancing can involve securing new funding to pay off existing debts, potentially under more favorable terms.

Restructuring might include changes to the business model, operational efficiencies, or cost reductions.

These strategies require thorough planning and negotiation with stakeholders but can lead to significant improvements in financial health and operational effectiveness.

>>Read our full guide to Business Restructuring

Seeking New Investment

Attracting new investment can provide the necessary capital to navigate financial difficulties and support growth initiatives. This could involve issuing new shares, finding venture capital investors, or partnering with other businesses.

New investment not only brings in funds but can also introduce new expertise and perspectives into the company, offering strategic benefits beyond financial relief.

Negotiating with Creditors

Direct negotiations with creditors can lead to agreements on payment holidays, reduced settlements, or extended payment terms.

Open and honest communication is key to gaining creditor trust and securing their cooperation.

By agreeing to revised terms, creditors can receive assurances on recovering their dues, while the company gains much-needed time to improve its financial situation.

>>Read more in our Negotiating with Creditors guide

Company Dissolution

Company dissolution is the process of legally closing down a company and removing it from the register at Companies House. However, it’s important to note that dissolution is not an alternative to liquidation for companies with outstanding debts. This option is typically viable only for businesses that have settled all their liabilities and have no ongoing legal disputes or contracts.

The process involves ensuring all company assets have been properly dealt with, notifying all relevant parties, including HM Revenue and Customs, and submitting the appropriate forms to Companies House.

>>Read our comprehensive guide to Company Dissolution

How Do I Know What the Best Liquidation Alternative Is for My Business?

Determining the most suitable liquidation alternative for your business can be a complex decision, requiring a deep understanding of your company’s financial situation, long-term goals, and the implications of each option. It’s vital to approach this decision with expert advice to navigate the complexities of financial distress and identify a strategy that aligns with your business objectives and stakeholders’ interests.

Our insolvency experts at Company Debt are here to guide you through the maze of options available, providing clear, practical advice tailored to your unique circumstances. We’ve helped 1000’s of directors find positive solutions to financial challenges.

FAQs on Liquidation Alternatives

Yes, informal arrangements, such as negotiating payment plans directly with creditors, can serve as an alternative to formal insolvency procedures. These arrangements allow for flexibility and can be tailored to the specific financial situation of the company, potentially avoiding the need for liquidation or formal insolvency

Debt for equity swaps involve creditors agreeing to cancel some or all of the company’s debt in exchange for equity in the company. This reduces the company’s debt burden and provides it with a chance to recover while giving creditors a stake in its potential future success. This option is most suitable for companies with the prospect of turning around their operations and whose creditors believe in the long-term value of the business.

Downsizing operations by reducing staff, cutting costs, and possibly selling off non-core parts of the business can free up cash and reduce overheads, making the company more financially viable. While it can be a tough decision due to its impact on employees and business size, it may be a necessary step to stabilise the company financially and avoid liquidation.

A pre-pack administration is a process where the sale of the company’s business and assets is arranged in advance of the company entering administration and is executed immediately after the appointment of administrators. This process can preserve the value of the business and ensure a smoother transition to new ownership, with the aim of saving jobs and the business itself. It differs from standard administration in its speed and the fact that the sale is arranged before the administrator takes over, minimizing business disruption.