More details emerge after Late Rooms collapse
More details have emerged about the collapse of holiday firms Late Rooms and Super Break with affected customers offered advice on what they should do next.
This morning Tracey Pye and David Costley-Wood from KPMG Restructuring were appointed as joint administrators to Laterooms Limited (t/a LateRooms.com), Superbreak Mini-Holidays Limited (t/a Super Break) and Malvern Travel Technology Limited.
Owned by Malvern Group, the Manchester-based companies came under significant cash flow pressure after one of the Group’s principal shareholders, Cox & Kings, defaulted on its debt repayments and would not be able to support the business in the short-term.
The businesses ceased operations on Thursday, prior to the appointment of the joint administrators, who are working closely with ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) and the UK CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) to minimise disruption to customers.What should customers do next?
Customers with future bookings made via LateRooms.com and Super Break are advised to visit the following website www.laterooms.com and www.superbreak.com where detailed information will be provided about how their bookings will be affected. The customer contact centre is no longer operational and therefore will not be available for queries.
Tracey Pye said: “The directors of Malvern Group embarked upon an accelerated sales process to bring further investment into the business. However, with the cash position of the company deteriorating rapidly, this process was unfortunately unsuccessful, prompting the directors to take the difficult decision to appoint the administrators.
“Coming in the midst of the summer holidays, we understand this news will be of grave concern to 23,000 LateRooms.com and 19,000 Super Break customers who have future bookings with the Group.
“Detailed information regarding how bookings will be affected can be found on the LateRooms.com and Super Break websites. Unfortunately the customer contact centre is no longer operational, so we kindly request passengers do refer to the information online in the first instance.
“We continue to invite offers for the business, and would urge any interested parties to make their interest known as soon as possible.”
The companies employed 253 employees across sites in both Manchester and York. With operations ceasing immediately upon the appointment of the joint administrators, the majority of employees have been stood down while the joint administrators assess options for the business.
The joint administrators have retained 43 employees as they continue to seek buyers for the business and its assets.
Interested parties should contact Rebekah Ingham (Rebekah.Ingham@KPMG.co.uk) at KPMG as soon as possible.
Malvern is 49 per cent owned by Cox & Kings, with the majority of the shares owned by undisclosed private investors.
Yesterday a statement from Malvern Group read: “Following news of Cox and Kings India’s loan default a month ago, the situation has deteriorated rapidly resulting in the withdrawal of any further funding for Malvern Group.
“The management team recently appointed advisors from KPMG to undertake an accelerated sales process to ensure further investment, and have engaged with our principal bankers to secure interim funding.
“Unfortunately, given the short timeframe enabled by our cash position and despite interest from potential purchasers, we have been unable to secure bank support or a sale of the business.
“As a result, Late Rooms Ltd (t/a LateRooms.com), Superbreak Mini-Holidays Ltd (t/a Super Break) and Malvern Travel Technology Limited are unable to continue on a solvent basis and have ceased trading.
“The senior team at Malvern Group have worked tirelessly to look at all available options to protect our employees, customers, trade partners and suppliers, whilst simultaneously working with regulatory bodies… to ensure minimum disruption to our customers in the event that the business could not continue.
“The company continues to invite bids for the business and its assets.”
Hugo Kimber, executive chairman of Malvern Group, said: “This is a devastating blow for all of our wonderful employees who have invested so much time and effort into building Malvern, its brands and trips technology platform.
“This is equally difficult for all our suppliers, partners and customers who will be impacted by this news. To be so close to delivering our goal of an integrated, dynamic and commercially successful business, that could provide significant value through its innovative products, is heart-breaking.”
Kimber recently outlined to BusinessCloud how he expected its new technology platform, which powers dynamic baskets with partners including National Express, to become the dominant portion of the business in the coming years.