Belfast Telegraph

High Court bid to wind up company used to buy BHS for £1 adjourned

The High Court has adjourned a bid by BHS administrators to take control of the company Dominic Chappell used to extract millions of pounds from the dying store chain.

Duff & Phelps is calling for Retail Acquisitions to be wound up.

Mr Chappell used the company to buy BHS for £1 from Topshop billionaire Sir Philip Green.

The administrators argued there was "overwhelming evidence" that the company was insolvent and the petition to wind up should proceed.

But, following an application by Mr Chappell's legal team, a judge in London ruled there should be an adjournment for further evidence to be filed.

A spokesman for Retail Acquisitions Ltd (RAL) welcomed the court's decision and indicated the company was itself planning to sue Sir Philip Green or his companies for millions of pounds.

The spokesman described the winding-up application as an attempt by Sir Philip, through his preferred administrators, to " force RAL into liquidation thus limiting the company's ability to make a £14 million-plus claim against him and/or his related companies."

The spokesman said RAL also wanted "to continue to assist the liquidator, FRP, to seek to recover £35 million that Sir Philip and his companies are trying to take away from the funds available to BHS creditors, including thousands of pensioners."

FRP Advisory was appointed, along with Duff & Phelps, to handle the dismantling of BHS.

During the High Court hearing on Thursday, Ruth den Besten, appearing for Duff & Phelps, said: "There is overwhelming evidence that RAL is insolvent."

Ms den Besten told Registrar Nicholas Briggs, a specialist judge in the Companies Court: "There are real concerns about the continued management of RAL by Mr Chappell."

Matthew Parfitt, representing Mr Chappell, argued he was entitled to an adjournment to produce further evidence on disputed issues, including whether there was support for accusations of "balance sheet insolvency" related to RAL.

After the judge indicated he was minded to allow an adjournment, Ms den Besten formally agreed.

The same judge is expected to continue hearing the case when it comes back to court within the next few months.

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