Hampshire and Dorset-based business recovery and cashflow experts Portland has experienced a record 12 months of appointments, which has seen it double the number of solvent liquidations where all company creditors are settled and the remaining balance paid to shareholders.

During 2018 Portland, which has its head offices at Solent Business Park at Whiteley, paid out more £53 million to shareholders of more than 50 companies including the collection of debts and refunds of £13 million.

Portland assisted a wide range of businesses including large national brands, covering sectors including property development, a theatre production, jewellery and hotels.

Portland Managing Director Carl Faulds said: “Although we have paid out a record amount of money to shareholders, the other side of the coin is over the last 18 months we have seen a lot of anxiety in the business world. We attribute this partly due to the risk of a no deal Brexit, but also in my view is because it is 10 years since the last economic downturn and the cycle typically comes round very 8-10 years.

"We have seen an increasing number of companies struggle due to rising costs at a time of stagnant or falling sales. Traditional businesses such as retail, hospitality and manufacturing are particularly seeing employment costs rise as a result of wage rises and to meet increasing employer pension cost obligations.

"Directors are having to make the difficult decisions around increasing prices or sales, at a time when discounting is rife. We pride ourselves at Portland as being able to offer a tailored and dynamic service which ultimately achieves the best possible outcome for business owners, creditors and our business partners.”