Funding lifeline for Simpson Millar owner

Bank AIB Group has moved debt owed by Fairpoint Group, the listed business behind the Simpson Millar law firm brand, to a specialist provider of capital to law firms.

Last week, consumer professional services company Fairpoint suspended trading in its shares on AIM after AIB refused to provide ongoing financial support.

This meant the Lancashire group was unable to sign-off the audit of its annual report and accounts for 2016, and was not be in a position to publish its annual report and accounts by the end of June, as required by AIM rules.

The company has today been notified by AIB Group it has assigned debt due from Fairpoint to Doorway Capital.

The specialist provider of capital to law firms has also provided a working capital funding facility of up to £5m to Simpson Millar.

Fairpoint, which is headquartered at Adlington in Lancashire, provides individual voluntary arrangements as Debt Free Direct, claims management products as Writefully Yours and consumer legal services as Simpson Millar.

It bought consumer legal services business Simpson Millar, which is headquartered in Leeds, in June 2014.

In March Fairpoint announced that its 2016 profits had halved to less than £5m and it suspended dividends until further notice. It reported pre-tax profits of £4.9m (2015: £10.5m) on revenue of £52.9m (2015: £54.1m) for the year to the end of December 2016.

In the same month it sold its medico-legal business PIX for £1.2m to help with cash flow.