UK: Administration speculation clouds First Quench future
First Quench Retailing has refused to be drawn on UK media reports that it is close to going into administration. Such a move would put up to 6,000 jobs at risk. However, advisers are still looking for a potential buyer for the business, the reports suggest.
According to The Times, the UK drinks retailer which owns Threshers and Wine Rack is considering a number of options including administration. The company has been struggling during the economic downturn.
In July, as reported in these pages, First Quench had its cashflow reductions and credit lines withdrawn as a result of the economic downturn. Then, in January, the company announced plans to close unprofitable stores in an attempt to cut costs and months later began a consultation process for the possible loss of 80 jobs.
First Quench would not be drawn on the accuracy of The Times report when contacted by just-drinks today (28 October), but released a statement saying: "The board of FQR notes speculation about the future of the company. It is no secret that the credit crunch has made a very competitive marketplace even more challenging.
"The board, in consultation with its advisers, has been actively considering a number of restructuring and strategic options for FQR and any decision will be made in the best interests of the business and its stakeholders."
The Times reported that KPMG is advising the group on its options. This still includes the prospect of First Quench being sold.
In August, First Quench announced that its CEO, Yvonne Rankin, had resigned for reasons of ill health. She was temporarily replaced by CFO Martin Healey, who himself resigned this month.
This story has been updated, following First Quench's collapse into administration.
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