Extra administrator to scrutinise Laura Ashley pre-collapse finances
The circumstances surrounding the collapse of Laura Ashley in March will be under even closer scrutiny with the appointment of a second administrator to look at the financial situation of the company before its failure.
FRP Advisory has been appointed at the request of the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) due to the firm’s pension fund deficit. It’s believed to also be looking into the part played by former directors such as chairman and CEO Ng Kwan Cheong, who left his role in January.
The online business, as well as the brand itself and its archive, were sold to Gordon Brothers in April. It’s thought the firm will focus on key international markets and as many as 1,600 jobs are expected to be lost.
The jobs toll comes as the company has over 150 UK shops but these are currently controlled by the administrators from PwC and are likely to shut down for good after attempts to mount a management buyout came to nothing.
Before it collapsed, Laura Ashley had been making noises about signs of recovery in the early weeks of the year. But it was still in a bad enough way for the pandemic to deal it a fatal blow.
But importantly for the PPF, the company went under with a £50 million pension fund deficit.
PwC has been gloomy about the prospects for raising cash from the firm’s assets. It has said it could raise around £27 million from selling those, but Laura Ashley also has debts of £162 million+.
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