Your regular administration round up

July is usually the month for holidays, seaside visits and eating out at cafes and restaurants with friends and family. 


What administrations & insolvencies have happened recently?

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Purchases would revolve around these – summer clothes, food, beach gear – to help make the fun memories that would hopefully last a lifetime. 

 

Not that we’ll be forgetting 2020 in a hurry. 

 

When the economy finally recovers, some of the most previously successful and popular names that peppered the high street and shopping centres across the country will only be memories. 

 

Here are some of the most prominent insolvency and administration stories from the past two weeks that might have escaped your attention.

 

Don’t Ask

The damage inflicted on the restaurant industry continues with news that owners of the Azzurri group which comprises the Zizzi and Ask Italian chains was being taken over. 

 

The majority of the 225 restaurants will reopen but 75 will close immediately with 1,200 positions going with them. 

 

Steve Holmes, chief executive of the Azzurri Group said: “Covid-19 has had a profound impact on the casual dining sector bringing many businesses like ours to a standstill. 

 

“Despite being a successful operator, the immediate loss of revenue during lockdown meant we had to make some incredibly difficult decisions to protect the business for the long term. It’s with deep sadness that this process resulted in the permanent closure of a number of sites and that we must say goodbye to some greatly valued employees across our brands.”

 

Chilango closes

Chilango, the metropolitan Mexican restaurant chain has gone into administration. We previously wrote about their unique “Burrito Bond” – a retail mini-bond based money raising scheme to help fund ambitious expansion plans.

 

Sadly for them the Covid-19 pandemic fundamentally changed the landscape for the casual dining sector and their 12 locations have closed, placing 150 jobs in jeopardy. Also bond holders could be looking at losses despite investing a collecting £3.7m into the business. 

 

Unlike debt sold to institutional investors, holders of retail bonds have a low priority in repayments claims of liquidated companies although they come before shareholders. 

 

Investments are like dishes – spicier can be more exciting but could also cause indigestion if they go wrong. 

 

Winfresh

One of the UK’s top Banana suppliers, Winfresh, has entered administration with 70 jobs hanging in the balance. 

 

Trading since 1994, the importers worked with thousands of smallholders in the Caribbean primarily in the Windward Islands and built a ripening facility in Dunmow, Essex. 

 

A spokesperson said: “In recent years the UK banana market has become highly competitive and that has impacted the company in terms of volume and pricing. 

 

“As a result, the financial position of the company has become untenable and mounting cash flow pressures have resulted in the appointment of the joint administrators.”

 

Hendersons

A chain of family-run vegetarian restaurants in Edinburgh including the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the UK – Henderson’s – has gone into voluntary liquidation. 

 

The business had four locations across the city and a deli employing 40 people who have now been made redundant. 

 

A spokesperson said: “There have been many challenging times for us but Covid was the final straw.

 

“We opened one of our shops for a month, providing a food box delivery and click and collect service but the city centre is bereft of footfall as virtually no passers-by, tourists or office workers, thus it was impossible to continue operating at a loss.”

 

Mander Organs

The company that rebuilt the organs that fill St Paul’s Cathedral and the Royal Albert Hall with beautiful music have announced bankruptcy. 

 

Mander Organs went from a family owned business into an employee ownership trust in 2018 but with their specialist work drying up and the coronavirus lockdown closing churches, cathedrals and music venues, the circumstances became insurmountable for them. 

 

Coffeesmiths Collective

The umbrella group that owned brands such as Filmore & Union has undergone a restructure which has seen Filmore & Union and Small Batch Coffee survive by moving into recently incorporated companies but they will see several locations closed as a result. 

 

Several other brands owned by the Collective including Brew & Bake, Brew Coffee Co and Crazy Fox Espresso have been placed into liquidation. 

 

10 Fillmore & Union restaurants were brought out of administration itself in 2019 by the group but changing circumstances have meant they’ve had to make drastic moves to protect the rest of the group. 

 

Rileys potted

Rileys Snooker Centres, where a generation got their first experience on the green baize, has gone into administration with the loss of four venues and 44 jobs. 

 

17 sites are remaining on the table while administrators look to find a buyer for the whole or part of the business. The future of the business, and lots of others in the leisure sector, depends on reopening and visitor numbers. 

 

Things are changing. 

 

Businesses are reopening and the Covid-19 support packages are gradually being wound-down and withdrawn. 

 

Hopefully customers will return as plentifully as before and ready to spend their newly accrued savings to fuel a late-year recovery that might even see some businesses breaking-even over the 12 months. 

 

But this is the best case scenario. For many companies it will take longer to reestablish themselves and for others still stability might be an unobtainable target. 

 

Get in touch with us if you think you might need some independent advice on how you can maximise your business’ chances of survival. 

 

Our initial virtual consultation is free and we can begin to address your main concerns and help you plan out what you need to do to help the company survive and thrive in 2021 and beyond. 

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