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PRESS INFORMATION

6 March 2006

PLASA helps members reduce risk of bad debts

The Professional Lighting and Sound Association (PLASA) has launched the first in a new suite of financial services designed to help member companies protect themselves against the risk of bad debts and to assist them in trading competitively in the growing global market.

The three new services - free credit checks, credit insurance facilities and a debt collection service - have been launched to minimise the risks involved in trading with particular customers and enable members to make more informed decisions.

PLASA Members can now request free credit checks on all UK companies. The service, provided by CreditSafe, allows members to request Reports on clients or business contacts. Updated on a daily basis, the Reports include financial information, key ratios, trend analysis, directors' details, payment record and a rating system classifying companies on a scale from 0 to 100.

Although PLASA hopes the free credit checks will be a useful tool, bad debts and defaulting customers will remain business realities, and whilst companies insure against many unlikely risks, less than 20% insure against bad debts. PLASA has therefore teamed up with CMR Insurance Services, specialists in credit insurance for over 20 years, to offer a credit insurance and credit management service. The new service will work in partnership with members' own credit control systems to minimise credit risks and, if the unexpected happens, it can pay up to 90% of commercial losses and 95% of political losses.

PLASA's intention is that the above two initiatives will reduce the instances in which members find themselves with bad debts, but since debt will be a fact of some company's lives, the Association has appointed CM Services to offer a debt collection service. CM was formed in 1991 by Dave Tigwell, PLASA's own credit control agent, and will provide credit control and debt collection services to members on a no-success, no-fee basis. Other services, including tracing, investigation report, serving of legal documents and handling of court procedures via solicitors, will also be available to members.

PLASA's Finance Director Shane McGreevy comments: "All businesses should make sure that they are protected, and this is particularly true for smaller companies which could be wiped out by one large bad debt. These new initiatives mean that our members now have straightforward protection against bad debts."

In addition to the above services, PLASA is working on other new initiatives, including an online financial forum where members can share ideas and exchange views on financial issues; twice-yearly workshops for those experienced in credit control, but who want to refresh their skills or simply improve their systems; guidance notes and template documents covering topics such as Effective Credit Management, Credit Policy and Terms & Conditions; and funding advice and information.

As part of its strategy to develop the influence of its members, one of PLASA's key aims for 2006 is to help members find new business opportunities. To this end, the Association is currently working on the development of a database of tender and contract information so that it can highlight business opportunities to members and, where relevant, facilitate site visits or meetings.

Notes to Editors:

PLASA is the lead professional body for businesses that supply technologies and services to the event, entertainment and installation industries. Operating from offices in Europe and North America, the Association provides business support services to its growing worldwide membership, writes industry standards, leads the development of qualifications and focuses on improving the business practices adopted by the industry. With over 1100 members worldwide, it represents one of the largest member networks in the industry.

PLASA also runs successful media and events divisions and is responsible for the industry-leading magazines Lighting&Sound International, Lighting&Sound America and Protocol and the PLASA Show in London, together with the European and North American regional PLASA Focus events.

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