KPMG books administration for LateRooms

Tracey Pye, director, and David Costley-Wood, partner, from KPMG restructuring have been appointed joint administrators to LateRooms Ltd, Superbreak Mini-Holidays Ltd and Malvern Travel Technology Ltd, which have collapsed hitting holiday plans for around 42,000 customers

Pye, joint administrator and KPMG director, said: ‘Coming in the midst of the summer holidays, 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.’

Owned by Malvern Group, the Manchester-based companies had recently come under significant cash flow pressure following news that one of the group’s principal shareholders had defaulted on its debt repayments and would not be able to support the business in the short term.

Malvern is 49% owned by luxury Indian travel specialist Cox & Kings, with the majority of the shares owned by undisclosed private investors.

In a statement Malvern Group said: ‘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 advisers 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.’

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 look for buyers 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.’

The joint administrators are working closely with ABTA and the UK Civil Aviation Authority to minimise disruption to customers.

Super Break, which specialised in short breaks in the UK and Europe, had around 400 customers on holiday at the time of the collapse.  It was a member of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA).

In a statement, ABTA said: ‘The majority of holidaymakers’ package bookings are covered by ABTA financial protection, while a significant proportion of other arrangements are covered by other types of protection including ATOL and credit card arrangements, depending on the type of booking.

‘These customers will either be entitled to a refund, or, if they’ve booked through another travel company, they should contact them to discuss options which may include continuing with their booking, re-booking or alternative arrangements.’

Late Rooms is a hotel booking site and was not an ABTA member, although the travel association has provided guidance on its website for customers. 

Pye said: ‘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.’

Pat Sweet | 05-08-2019

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