Ulster Bank (Northern Ireland)
Region: Northern Ireland
Location: County Antrim
Programme: Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
Although tyre retailers Kerr’s Tyres continued to service hauliers and delivery companies throughout the disruption caused by COVID-19, it lacked the working capital to sustain itself for any real length of time. Under such financial pressure, it applied to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) for support.
Read what the business had to say in this CBILS case study.
British Business Bank: Can you tell us what your company does?
Norman Kerr, managing director of Kerr’s Tyres: Kerr’s Tyres sells vehicle tyres and provides professional tyre fitting services and roadside assistance. We have seven centres across Northern Ireland and four in Republic of Ireland.
How did Covid-19 affect your business, and why did this mean you needed funding?
Once coronavirus caused businesses to have to cease operations, the retail side of our business declined by 80%. But we had to stay open to support hauliers, businesses that were doing important deliveries, and vehicles owned by key workers.
We applied for support from CBILS simply to provide some working capital we could use to keep the business going.
How did you find the application process?
We had some help from our accountants, AMC, but in actual fact it was a really easy process.
Before coronavirus, we’d put all our cash reserves towards building a new HQ. Once the outbreak hit, not getting that financial support from CBILS means our cashflow would’ve dried up and there’s a possibility we’d have had to close.
Norman Kerr, managing director of Kerr’s Tyres
What advice would you give to other businesses that are applying for a CBILS loan?
I think it’s definitely worth keeping in mind that the coronavirus business interruption loan is a loan that needs paying back – it isn’t a grant! So any business that chooses to apply for one of these loans must remember that and ensure it’s capable of making the repayments when they fall due.
In what way did the funding help your business survive?
If we hadn’t have received a loan from the scheme, the business would’ve had no working capital at all, as we’d not so long ago used up our cash reserves to build a new company headquarters.
Without the injection of funds, our cashflow would have dried up completely. Unless we were able to make arrangements with all our creditors, it’s likely we’d have had to close Kerr’s Tyres altogether.