Bonmarche Shops may be sold in a pre pack administration

11 January 2012

update 23rd January

Sun European Partners said Monday in a statement that one of its funds had acquired and will keep open 230 Bonmarche stores - part of a broader asset portfolio of Peacocks assets and will close around 160 stores.

We blogged back in September 2011 that the lenders to Peacocks had appointed KPMG to review the business as the firm had some £240m of debts and was in danger of breaching its covenants.

It has been reported that the company is under pressure to sell its 360 strong chain of Bonmarche shops to help repay some of the debt.  Bonmarche has been put up for sale in the past without success.  It is understood that a number of buyers are now interested and these include Hilco, the restructuring specialists, and the Edinburgh Woollen Mill.

Peacocks acquired Bonmarché in 2002 for £55m, which has 360 shops and 4000 staff.  It is expected that the sale could fetch £10-£15m.

It has been suggested that the chain could be sold in a pre pack administration whereby the assets of the old company is moved across to a new one (newco) and the "oldco" is put into admistration at the same time.  If this does happen the staff contracts will still be transferred across to the new company.