Mazars appointed to liquidate international college

05 October 2020 2 min. read

MLS International College has collapsed amid the continued Covid-19 pandemic, with liquidators from Mazars being appointed to the Bournemouth-based international college. The education institution has traded for 35 years, and at its peak welcomed more than 2,000 students from about 40 countries each year.

Having enjoyed a boom in funding thanks to the marketisation of higher education, a huge number of universities across England and Wales have been placed under major financial stress by the Covid-19 lock-down. Mass redundancies and attacks on staff pay and conditions are reportedly on the cards at many institutions, as they prepare for a funding shortfall of £2.5 billion in the next academic year – largely in relation to the collapse in flow of international students arriving for tuition.

Universities are not the only facet of the UK’s education system to have been hit by the coronavirus however. Founded in 1985, MLS International College catered to overseas students for 35 years, offering adults a variety of programmes in the English language, while many courses were also available for special purposes, such as for the aviation industry. However, given the reduction in international air travel through 2020, the facility has succumbed to its worsening financial condition.

Mazars appointed to liquidate international college

The UK Government enforced the closure of all educational institutions across the UK in March 2020, including the college. Along with issues around the legality of being able to provide certain specialist training online, this meant that the business has been unable to generate revenue since April 2020. Employees were placed on furlough at the beginning of lockdown, while the company has faced an uncertain future ever since, as outside factors both in the UK and abroad have dictated its future.

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 eventually opted to cease trading and appoint Tim Ball and Mike Field of Mazars as liquidators, to prevent the position worsening for creditors. The news represents a large loss to Bournemouth, with the company’s directors indicating in a release that over the 35 years leading to its closure, MLS had contributed up to £150 million to the local economy.

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