Bible charity IBS-STL UK puts its commercial side up for sale

Financial difficulties 'exacerbated by recession'

Christian book and bible charity IBS-STL UK is looking for a buyer for its commercial operations after a "succession of financial problems".

Its 490 staff learnt on Monday that the organisation had appointed accountancy firm Baker Tilly to lead the operation.

Financial difficulties, exacerbated by the recession, have left the charity with cash-flow pressures, excess stock, and supply chain and service difficulties in its distribution and retail units, a statement from the charity said.

A spokesman for the charity, which was founded in 1962, said the failed implementation of a new computer system in October last year had seriously weakened IBS-STL UK's finances.

The charity has three trading divisions: Authentic Media, a book and music publisher; STL Distribution, a distributor of Christian resources; and Wesley Owen Books and Music, a retailer with 40 shops.

It is part of Biblica, a global Bible translation, publishing, distribution and outreach ministry.

Keith Danby, global president of Biblica, said IBS-STL UK was focused on a finding a solution to continuing its work, securing jobs and fulfilling obligations to suppliers and creditors. He said the "sale or exit from all or parts of certain operations was a prudent and necessary step".

"We are working diligently and praying vigilantly for a successful outcome," said Danby.

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