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how to protect your business from covid 19 ireland

5 Steps to Protect Your Business from Covid-19


The Covid-19 virus is bringing all of us into a time of unprecedented challenge. The protection of life is paramount, and every effort should continue to be made to curtail and eventually eliminate this virus.  

The impact of Covid-19 on businesses in Ireland and worldwide is unprecedented and the speed of its impact is alarming. Business owners are dealing with a volatile and evolving situation daily and understandably most are not prepared.  However, as the seriousness of the situation becomes a stark reality, Business owners and managers now need to quickly stabilise cashflow, assess the key risks, evaluate the potential impact of this crisis on their business and prepare an action plan to address the immediate impact and develop a roadmap for  the ensuing recovery.

The difficulty with this is that it is unknown how long the crisis will last and how deep the economic impact will be. This uncertainty should not deter Business owners and managers from financial planning.  The business should put together a framework or tool kit that it can:

  1. initially use to get “a grip” of the current position it finds itself; 
  2. reuse on a timely basis when circumstances change, thereby continuously accessing the risks, evaluating the impact and update its financial planning.

The framework or tool kit includes:

1. Stabilise Cash Flow.

 – As revenue is impacted businesses’ cash flows are already being strained. Businesses should perform a detailed review of cash flows, covering the next 3-month period at a minimum, and identify any and all mitigating steps that can be implemented to minimise cash flow impacts and maintain cash in the short and medium term;

2. Assessing the risks

 – this relates to a deep dive into the business and accessing the risks Covid-19 has on all aspects of the business, for example:

  • Customers, products & Sales – what impact does Covid-19 have on your customers and on your customer’s customers. This will impact the demand for your products & services and hence your sales.
  • Suppliers and supply chain – what impact does Covid-19 have on your supply chain.
  • Employees – what impact does Covid-19 have on your workforce and processes.
  • Banks & Cash – how will Covid-19 impact the business cash flows and possible loan agreements and covenants.

3. Evaluating the impact

 – once you have assessed the risks and gathered the various elements where Covid-19 can impact your business, you then need to evaluate the potential impact. This is made difficult due to the uncertainty of the depth or length of the crisis. However, we would recommend that the business prepares a financial forecasting model that allows varying assumptions and delivers financial outcomes based on those assumptions. We would then recommend that the business prepares at least three different scenarios – an optimistic, middle and pessimistic – and review the financial outcomes for each. The financial model should indicate the financial outcomes of each scenario including monthly Profit & Loss and Cash Flow. This will allow the business to evaluate different scenarios and the impact of different actions on the financial position of the business.

4. Prepare an action plan

 – the business should then prepare an action plan, for both short and medium term actions, based on the risk assessment and impact evaluation. This action plan should be detailed and measurable with clear owners of actions and accountability. This action plan should include evaluating the different support packages being made available by Government through agencies such as the Local Enterprise Offices, Enterprise Ireland, SBCI, the Revenue, etc. 

5. Review & Update

 – the business should keep the action plan under continuous review to ensure that the actions are being carried out and that such actions are delivering the expected outcome. In the current circumstances, we would also recommend that the business revisit the risk and impact evaluation exercise on a timely basis and re-run the financial models. This may lead to a change in the actions required. By “timely” we would recommend that this be twice monthly initially and then move to monthly and eventually quarterly once the crisis abates.

This type of framework is a common exercise for multinational businesses who have the internal resources to carry out such in depth analysis.  We would recommend that small to medium companies use external consultants such as Coombes Corporate Finance (“CCF”) to drive, coordinate and deliver this framework for your business.  CCF has over 30 years of experience in both practice and industry and we can manage the business through this process.  Furthermore, Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices provide funding assistance for companies to carry out this financial planning exercise.   

As noted above, the action plan should include evaluating the different support packages being made available by Government through agencies such as the Local Enterprise Offices, Enterprise Ireland, SBCI, the Revenue, etc.  CCF can evaluate the appropriateness of the supports being offered and assist you in securing such supports.

Want to Learn More?

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or by calling: 086 6817103.

acquisitions cork

Acquisition Case Study

acquisitions Case study

The following are some of the acquisition projects led by Frank Coombes & Coombes Corporate Finance:

  • Led a major acquisition of a Scottish waste management company with significant interest throughout the UK – value in excess of STG£50m
  • Led the acquisition of a UK water technology manufacturing company on behalf of Ireland’s largest Company supplying and installing pumping and Treatment Systems
  • Lead advisor for FLI Environmental Ltd in their acquisition of UK water company and in the acquisition of a UK Remediation company
  • Worked with a leading Irish food company in its acquisitions in Europe.
  • Led the €25m acquisition of a Support services Company
financial advice cork


Acquisitions! One may ask how relevant this is with the doom and gloom of the “credit crises”, however a recently published survey carried out on privately owned business shows that over 70% of participants forecasted growth in their business over the next 12 months.  This growth will be delivered through organic growth and through acquisitions and it is the latter this article will address.

The key place to start is to identify the type of company you wish to target and so you need to set out target selection criteria, addressing questions such as:

What sector are you targeting – are you looking for expansion of own business sector or diversifying into a new sector?

  • Do you want to expand your existing market or do you want to move up or down the supply chain?
  • Do you want to expand into a new geographical area?  In recent years, many Irish companies have acquired in the UK and in Central/Eastern Europe.
  • What size of company should you target?

These are important questions to answer and in doing so you need to ensure that any selection ties back to your overall business strategy/vision and that any potential acquisition enhances the value of your existing business.

Once the criteria are established, then you need to research based on these criteria using a combination of your own knowledge and desk top research.  The power of the internet and search engines comes to the fore here, with financial and non financial information being readily available.  From this research you should be able to shortlist some key targets.

When completing this research, you need to look at the “culture” of any target business to ensure that it matches your business culture and by culture I refer to service culture, attitude towards customers, attitude toward staff, etc.  These are very important and often overlooked but if there is a mismatch of culture, then the post acquisition integration will become very difficult and may jeopardise the success of the transaction.

Once the target(s) have been identified, you then approach the owners and establish if they are interested in a transaction. I would advise to use an external advisor for this process so that initially you distance yourself from the approach.  Such enquiries are usually made on a no names basis and only when a level of interest is established that your name is released.  However once interest is established, it is then important that you get to meet the vendors at an early stage, to establish the fit of the target company to yours, again not forgetting the culture elements mentioned above.

Then the negotiations will start, establishing what type of deal can be done.  I would advise you to remain flexible and open to ideas during this part of the process.  In my experience, an owner manager selling his/her business is interested in the financial value, but often fringe non financial issues are as important if not more important than money – items such as looking after their staff, the company name which may by the family name, supporting local charities, etc. Therefore, it is important to establish value expectations at an early stage, but it is also important to listen to the vendor and establish the important fringe items that may help you clinch the deal.

Once a deal is agreed in principal, write it down in the form of a Heads of Agreement (“HOA”) detailing key terms.  These HOA will be non binding on both parties with the exception of giving you exclusivity to complete the deal and the negotiations should remain confidential.

You then need to complete your legal, financial and other types of due diligence.  These should be completed by suitably qualified professionals, remembering that due diligence is done to protect your investment and identify any potential issues that may arise post acquisition.  During this time you should also be identifying the source(s) of funding to complete the transaction.  Despite the recent credit crises, banks remain open for business and they will fund good sound proposals, and so it is important to present the opportunity professionally identifying the benefits of the acquisition such as synergies, etc.

If you are happy with the due diligence, then a Share Purchase agreement needs to be drafted by your legal team and agreed with the vendor.  This will include the agreed terms and various warranties that are designed to protect you and your investment.

On closing the acquisition, there is often cause for celebrating and it is important to celebrate the event, both for you and the vendor. However, soon realism sets in that the real work now begins in integrating and making a success of the acquisition.  It is wise that during the due diligence phase that you plan this integration, identifying funding requirement, business process integration, cultural differences, staff remuneration differences, etc.  If this is done at due diligence stage, then post acquisition integration will be easier and more successful.