UK: Drinks firms in talks with Waverley TBS administrators over 'unpaid' stock
Firms are understood to be talking to Waverley's administrators over stock held by the wholesaler
Waverley, the former wholesale unit of Heineken's Scottish & Newcastle arm now owned by private equity group Manfield Partners, confirmed yesterday (2 October) that it has entered administration. The firm has appointed two partners at Deloitte to handle its affairs.
Concerned companies that dealt with Waverley have already approached the wholesaler since its collapse. Brewer Heineken is understood to be "making moves to secure unpaid for stock", a source close to the situation said.
Diageo said in a statement that it is "currently in discussions with Waverley and its administrators", but added that it would be "inappropriate to comment further at this time”.
Anheuser-Busch InBev is also rumoured to have approached the firm, but a spokesperson for the brewer declined to comment.
Meanwhile, Leeds-headquarted online wholesaler Ooberstock, launched this year by former Coca-Cola sales executive Arran Heal, is believed to be eyeing a move for Waverley. A source told just-drinks it is a "gilt-edged opportunity" for the fledgling company. In a tweet yesterday, Ooberstock said: "To all Waverley customers, we are here to help in this time of uncertainty".
However, it could face competition from rivals Matthew Clark, which is rumoured to also be tabling a bid.
Waverley was acquired by Manfield Partners in June 2010. One of Manfield's five partners is Jeremy Blood, a former MD of Scottish & Newcastle, who was appointed Waverley's chairman in January. It also appointed a new CEO, Steve Benger, this year to help turn the business around following a restructure.
“Unfortunately Waverley has increasingly had to contend with very tough trading conditions in the UK on trade, pressures on consumer spending and tightening credit terms," Manfield Partners told The Daily Telegraph yesterday.
“Despite all the efforts of the board to find a buyer or strong financial partner for the business over the past two months, it has been unable to do so and therefore concluded that it should ask its lenders to appoint an administrator.”
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