Belfast Telegraph

Buyers circle failed music venue chain

By MARGARET CANNING mcanning@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

BUYERS have come forward to purchase a chain of Belfast bars which includes iconic live music venue The Limelight, it has emerged.

CDC Leisure, which also owns Katy Daly's and Auntie Annie's, was put into administration in June by Allied Irish Banks.

It owes £7.7m to the Irish bank, while other creditors are owed £1.89m.

But a progress report by administrators KPMG reveals that a number of interested parties have shown interest in the business, which also promotes some concerts.

The document, filed this week at Companies House, said a database had been prepared ahead of a marketing process of the chain.

It also reveals cost-cutting measures carried out by KPMG, such as redundancies of some staff and the surrender of leases on two city centre properties.

KPMG is also chasing debts of £4,600 owed to the company.

Artists who have played at The Limelight include The Strokes, Snow Patrol, Oasis and Manic Street Preachers.

The firm said they decided to continue to trade the business to maximise the potential of the business being sold.

The report reveals that ticket and bar sales between June and December had fetched £218,537. But the administrators also had to pay £87,700 for the costs of bringing artists Blondie and Deep Purple to Belfast, including payment for the artists and the hire of venues they played in.

Eamonn McCann, a concert promoter who originally owned some of the bars, is owed £183,700.

The administrator also incurred costs of £101,000, spending around 714 hours on the case at a rate of £140.

While the administration is due to end in June, it could be extended by court order - or the business could be sold, or wound up.

Botanic Inns was sent in by administrators KPMG to run the business and will remain in place, the report said. Its managing director Stephen Magorrian previously dismissed speculation that his company might buy the business.

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