Covid travel ban forces training college collapse

Tim Ball, partner, and Mike Field, director, of Mazars have been appointed as joint liquidators of one of Bournemouth’s longest-established colleges for overseas students, which has ceased operations as a result of the impact of Covid-19 on the business

MLS International Ltd, which traded as MLS International College, was established in 1985 and offered adults a variety of programmes in the English language.

At its height, the company welcomed more than 2,000 students from around 40 countries each year to the college. It also ran courses for special purposes, such as for pilots and air traffic controllers in the aviation industry.

MLS International Ltd had a turnover of about £2.3m in the year ending March 2019.

However, following the closure of all educational institutions in March due to the pandemic, together with issues around the legality of being able to provide certain specialist training online, the business had not generated any revenue since April.

The company had also recently been advised of the termination and delay of key aviation industry contracts until at least spring 2021.

In addition, the uncertainties over when other countries would allow their citizens to travel to the UK, whether those students to want to travel to the UK, and the UK government’s control of who can travel to the UK severely impacted future planning.

As a result the directors decided MLS International Ltd should formally cease trading and be placed in liquidation with all 33 employees made redundant.

Mike Field, Mazars director and joint liquidator, said: ‘It is sad to see a company like MLS International Ltd fail as it is a college that has long-established training traditions and is well known in the town, abroad and in the industry.

‘The external factor of the Covid-19 pandemic has severely impacted this business which has, in its most recent year, been profitable.

‘Unfortunately, given the reduction in international air travel, the uncertainty as to when air travel will return to any normality and no guarantee that overseas students would want to travel to the UK to learn English in sufficient numbers for the business to be profitable, the directors had to make the difficult decision to cease trading and enter liquidation to prevent the position worsening for creditors.’

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