Events supplier clinches £2m bank loan after virus brings sector to a standstill

A Merseyside supplier of audio, lighting and video technical services has received a £2m finance facility from HSBC UK’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) after being heavily impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown.

Adlib, which provides equipment and personnel to the international live events industry, is using the funding – as well as a £450,000 increase on its overdraft facility – as a buffer to cover its running costs and retain its staff until the events industry recovers when the lockdown restrictions lift.

The business, which employs 160 people at its Knowsley site, has also furloughed more than 90% of its staff through the Government’s scheme.

Adlib managing director, Andy Dockerty, said: “Until the coronavirus hit, we had a very busy year ahead of us.

“However, almost overnight in early-March we lost £7.5m of confirmed work through to the end of August, along with another £2m quoted and expected to land.

“Many high-profile tours for the likes of The Script, Joe Bonamassa, Snow Patrol, Foals and Sam Fender were cancelled and from the end of May we would have had our busiest ever festival season.

“With the entertainment industry coming to an abrupt stop we had to take decisive measures to save the long-term future of the business and to protect our team’s livelihoods.

“HSBC UK worked quickly to ensure that additional funding was put in place through the much-needed CBILS.

“The future of the arts and events industry is uncertain, it will probably be the last sector to return to normal, therefore, this loan is critical and will allow us to be in a strong and positive position when it does return.

“This is truly the most important loan Adlib have had to date – however, I must confess it is the only loan we did not want.”

Rob Spowart, corporate relationship director for HSBC UK, said: “Over 35 years of experience has enabled Adlib to establish itself as one of the most well-known and respected names in the technical services industry, which means we have full confidence in Andy and his team, despite these unprecedented times.

“Furthermore, they reacted extremely quickly to identify the likely impacts on the company and presented us with a credible business plan for the post-pandemic environment, allowing us to swiftly agree a suitable funding proposal.”

Adlib have previously provided services for Creamfields Festival, the 2019 Netball World Cup and regularly supports touring artists throughout the world.

The company employs a range of skilled audio engineers, lighting and video technicians to offer a full range of production services to events, theatres, performance spaces, venues and educational establishments.