Caterer seeks court aid to keep trading

A kosher caterer has taken an unusual legal step to ensure that he survives the economic downturn.

Stephen Wolfisz went to the High Court on Friday to complete a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).
The caterer, whose offices are in Colindale, will continue to work, but under the supervision of an insolvency practitioner who is approved by the court.

"The whole idea is that I stay in business so that I can pay off the money I owe. This is definitely not liquidation or going bust. I owe some money but it is not a huge amount," he said.

"I want to pay it off because I believe in my business and I want to continue. This way, how the company handles the debt is controlled and means those to whom I owe money will be paid. At the moment, my creditors would get 81p in the pound on their debts. But I hope that, through this arrangement, they will get 100p in the pound."

Mr Wolfisz said he had a strong order book for November and for next year. He has also decided not to take any deposits from clients who have booked functions with him.

"That way, my clients' money is not at risk. In the past, caterers have taken deposits and then gone bust," he said.

"Their clients lost their deposits then had to pay again with another caterer.

"Life is difficult. Banks are cutting the overdrafts used to support companies and I know there are difficulties in the kosher and non-kosher trade.

"I am confident that I will stay in business until things get better."

    Last updated: 4:45pm, October 2 2008