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  • ETC Tax Conference – a tale of two chocolatiers

    2 May 2022

    Introduction

    Last Thursday, ETC Tax welcomed 70 professionals to its first annual tax conference at Mere Golf and Spa Resort.

    The conference, built around the theme of Succession (a poorly concealed doffing of a Kendal Roy style baseball cap to the eponymous HBO series ) started with networking and a curry. Not a bad start.

    The ‘WayStar RoyCos of the show

    The conference was opened by Bernard Kelly. He told the attendees how he bought Benson for Beds as a turnaround in 1984. He built the company up from 8 to 140 stores before selling it to a public company. He is now the Chairman of Biramis business advisers.

    Andy Wood started formal proceedings with a session on passing on the business to employees with a particular emphasis on Employee Ownership Trusts. Although this might be a useful tool for some clients, Andy highlighted some of the very real issues through his Willy Wonka case study (the first of the two great chocolatiers to dominate the day).

    Second, up to the oche was Zeeshan Khilji who have an energy-filled overview of the tax considerations when one is looking to sell the business to a third party purchaser. Zeeshan, who in a recent public confessional, revealed his passion for demergers did not disappoint here!

    Jon Davage, Head of a corporate at Bermans, joined us for a Q&A panel discussion on these two topics and explained his view of the current market conditions.

    After a short break for coffee and more networking, it was the turn of Alexander Wilson to provide an overview of some of the tax and non-tax considerations when thinking about transferring the business to the family. He looked at the use of structures including trusts and family investment companies.

    This was followed by another panel discussion where Harry Plunkett of Canaccord Genuity joined Alex and Andy.

    After networking and drinks, we then moved into the relaxed, evening event.

    Here, Jo Fairley the co-founder of Green and Blacks chocolate provided an informative and entertaining review of her career to date.

    Following dinner, we drew the raffle winners, raising a total of £700 for Just Drop In.

    Conclusion

    A great event and a massive thanks to Sarah Aston and the team for bringing this together. Well done and look forward to next year!

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    Please provide as much detail as possible in regards to the reason for your enquiry so our tax advisers can prepare and tailor their response to reflect your needs. We will endeavour to - respond / call you back - to discuss your enquiry and you will not be charged for this time.

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