Cubellis

Division: Phoenix Management Services


Client

Cubellis Business Trust (“Cubellis”) was a $60 million leading architectural, interior design and engineering firm with nine offices across the U.S. The Company’s practice areas of expertise included retail and mixed-use, workplace solutions, residential, academic, hospitality, government/municipal, building envelope services, and land development. The Company began as a “local firm” with 20 people servicing relatively few clients with consistently strong profitability. The Company initiated a roll up strategy that led to its growth of over 400 employees as it acquired ten independent architectural firms.

Problem

Cubellis had been significantly negatively impacted by a number of issues with the most prevalent being:

  • Significant shortcomings with regard to the consolidation of overhead services related to the integration of the acquisitions completed during the roll up strategy period
  • A global macro-economic downturn impacting all industry sectors
  • Severe decline in the global credit markets including both US and globally based banks;
  • A failed merger with a Southeast USA design firm
  • Suffered significant overseas project losses totaling over $3.5 million
  • Lack of operational and financial controls with regard to the Cubellis operating infrastructure resulting in significant bad debt reserves
  • A significant diversion of financial and staff resources to address a lawsuit filed by a larger competitor in the architectural space due to poor controls on the Company’s part

The above issues led to a severely strained relationship with its senior secured lender, who itself was enduring economic challenges, led to a cash crisis for the Company.

Solution

Phoenix was engaged by Cubellis to serve as the Company’s Chief Restructuring Officer (“CRO”) to restructure its operations, streamline its financial reporting and work thru a transition from the senior lender, to a more permanent working capital solution. Phoenix immediately began providing leadership to the organization and rapidly made a significant impact to the Company’s culture and processes in leading it to improved operations. Some of the focus areas of Phoenix included: improving the Company’s accounting and finance functions, optimizing the efficiency of the labor force related to project management and corporate functions, and negotiated with the senior lender to allow the Company time to effectuate a turnaround while finding an exit for the lender.

Phoenix led the Company through a transition to a centralized accounting system which fueled a dramatic improvement in the Company’s internal accounting functions whereby the Company was able to institute significantly improved process controls and disciplines. All of which led to significant improvement in project profitability

Phoenix developed a comprehensive financial plan and cash flow model that brought creditability to the process with the senior lender and keep the Company operating for a significantly longer period of time than otherwise would have been possible with limited use of working capital. Phoenix daily monitoring of cash, communicating with the senior lenders, negotiating with landlords and leading negotiations regarding litigation issues allowed senior management to run the day to day architectural side of the business.