We think we have a lot to offer? But You be the Judge!

Feel free to read the comments and thoughts of senior South African business leaders kind enough to share them.

We might be new to the insolvency and restructuring market in South Africa, but we are not new to turnarounds and saving businesses. Noluthando, Jessica and Ivan started working together 5 years ago, when we took a business from Zar 480 million PBT to Zar 1,3 billion! You will struggle to find the same combination of international experience, credible client successes, appropriate education and training, and actual turnaround knowledge that you will find with us. (There are a few we can recommend, who we consider excellent. )

When you work with Spark! on a business rescue, you don't get a Business Rescue Practitioner, you get a Business Rescue Analysis and Planning team - here's the breakdown:

We do Business Rescues and Turnarounds not Wind-Downs, time estimates here are for a larger businesses, smaller businesses generally need on y a single Business rescue Practitioner
Team Member Role Time on Rescue premises
Ivan Uttley Business Rescue Practitioner-> Analysis, Strategy, Benefits Capture Planning, Stakeholder Comms Full time
Tim Loughton Risk Management, Quality Assurance of Strategy, Benefits Planning and rescue Plan content As required
Matthew McCrystal All aspects of Commercial Law, with emphasis on Commercial Litigation, Law of Credit, Insolvency, Company Law, Commercial Drafting, General Litigation duration of initial rescue planning
Jessica Erens Accounting Audit, Financial Analysis View and Tax Planning duration of inital rescue planning
Anneke de Jong Contracting and Documentation Minimal


We do not do any liquidation work that is initiated from a rescue, as we believe this would mis-align incentives to rescue the business. Where initial assumptions are proven false, or events transpire against a viable rescue and it turns out liquidation proceedings are best initiated, we will hand this over to people best qualified to do this.

In those instances where Business Rescue is not entered into and a voluntary liquidation is identifed as the appropriate process to follow, we will get involved. A well planned and executed liquidation entails far more than the formal legal process run by a liquidator. A well thought out business solution that sees opportunity in a chrisis and involves a well thought negotiation, restructuring, and disposal of a business rather than merely assets adds far more value to all concerned.

We work with a single client at a time and do not conduct any turnaround or rescue in conjunction with any other. Frankly we do not see how any other way is ethical or even possbile. We only ever conduct a single intervention at a time!

Before appointing us we insist on time spent working through how we would go about the detail of a rescue assessment, further analysis and planning. You must have some comfort in a well considered and appropriate plan of attack (no charging windmills here!), with some substance attached to it. This is at no cost to you, except for your time, and preferably should take place on-site (i.e. at your premises, after hours if necessary).

Follow this link to Ivan Uttley's credentials & career detail, education and references. and CV & Career Summary. Matthew, Tim, and Jessica will make theirs available to you on request.

Please compare us!

When you seek out a rescue practitioner as you navigate the business issues and challenges you face, we'd advise you to use the following criteria to help guide your choice. Then see how we stack up.

  • Are they willing to share risk with you and make some if not all of their fee contingent on rescue plan approval and delivery?
  • Do they have some kind of structured approach they will adopt that is flexible enough to allow you to deal quickly with the particular issues your business faces?
  • Can they convince you that they have used the business experience and training, complemented by a structured methodology they have used in other similar situations and successfully?
  • Can they convince you that they have used the business experience and training, complemented by a structured methodology they have used in other similar situations and successfully?
  • Will they deliver more than that prescribed by law, or do what your business actually requires to be rescued?
  • The planning analysis should include everything listed here at a minimum?(but you will be hard-pressed to find one that does), so ask:
    1. Will they introduce LEAN management principles to drive austerity?
    2. Will they clean up the balance sheet using ALL tools available - ie NOT just Non-core asset disposal,(surely that's been done already?)
    3. Are there immediate Business Continuity and Stabilization Measures? Staff, customers, suppliers and banks need this and it must be done well!!
    4. Will they conduct a Strategic Review? (properly scoped - see here for what this is.
    5. A Value Chain Analysis & Operational Restructuring analysis?
    6. A Core function review and rationalization review?
    7. Company Restructuring options for assets in the current value chain. Yes! this is commonly overlooked, and is often a wasted opportunity.
    8. Tactical self-funding initiatives that reduce post-commencement funding needs. Get them to convince you of how they go about this!
    9. Financial Restructuring
    10. Debt Refinancing

    On the last two points, refinancing and restructuring, it is impossible to do these properly without the prior work being done, and yet many workouts and rescue do only this!

  • Have they actually delivered on a turnaround and can they take you through the detail of the delivery?
  • In your business, as you discuss the issues, do they use general statements or are they able to get into the detail and propose alternatives that are appropriate for your business?
  • Do they possess the Programme and Project management skills required to deliver on the plan?
  • Are they able to "sell" you the reasons why; you should adopt or consider something they propose (by sharing the logic supporting it) or do they just "tell" you?
  • Can they show you evidence in their tools and methodologies of any original thinking they can claim as their own? What in their content would you NOT find anywhere else? For example, we will provide you with our own experiences and material on various specialist areas which are well beyond the scope and ability of other coaching teams, such as Business Process Re-engineering, LEAN, Gamifying your business.
  • Do they possess the urgency and energy to get things done in the timelines involved?
  • Will they fight for your business and truly partner you?
  • Are they able to engage with you, in a manner and style that stimulates your own thinking, but also exposes you to alternatives that you can discuss in depth?
  • Will they be able to manage your creditors and not alienate them?
  • Will they be able to devote the necessary time to you and your business when the situation demands it? Are they available at unscheduled times?
  • Do they actually care about you and your staff?
  • Will they have your back, and fight for you and your business as if it were their own?

We more than meet ALL these criteria, but you should not take our word for it. Meet us, let's work through whatever is of concern to you, see how we work and think. Test how we would tackle the problem with you. Use the contact tab to let us know how to contact you, you'll be glad you did!