PPF seeking joint administrator appointment at Laura Ashley
The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) is reportedly seeking to appoint a second administrator to oversee the ongoing investigation into Laura Ashley's collapse.
The government-backed pensions authority, which comes to the rescue of pension schemes when firms go bust, wants a “second pair of eyes” to supervise the process, reported Sky News.
City administration firm FRP Advisory could become the second administrator and work alongside PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), who were appointed when the fashion brand collapsed earlier this year.
More than 1,500 Laura Ashley employees are still uncertain about their future as they have been furloughed due to the lockdown. The high street brand, famed for its floral print designs and traditional homewares, was sold to restructuring firm Gordon Brothers last month.
Some 70 of Laura Ashley’s 147 UK stores have permanently closed, triggering more than 700 job losses.
If FRP Advisory is confirmed as joint administrator, the move would echo its role at BHS, the department store chain that collapsed in 2016. This was also orchestrated by the Pension Protection Fund amid concerns about the complexity of the relationships between the BHS’ former owners.
Laura Ashley fell into administration last month after talks with Hilco Capital about a multi-million pound injection failed. The company blamed the coronavirus pandemic for a fall in sales, but the truth is that it had been struggling to improve its appeal for a while.
The future of the retailer’s remaining UK stores is still undecided.
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