Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Laser sale unlikely |to benefit many of its creditors

The closing down sale of the former Laser electrical goods chain across Northern Ireland raised almost £800,000 — but many creditors are unlikely to get a penny, it has been revealed.

According to a report by the BBC, the administrators calculated that £767,942 was raised through sales.

But after expenses and commission, just over £650,000 was available to the creditors.

The company collapsed in April with the closure of 10 stores and the loss of 140 jobs.

Administrators from financial consultancy firm KPMG held a closing down sale shortly afterwards — they hoped to raise a further £750,000 from the sale of property.

The bulk of that money will go to Ulster Bank which was Laser's source of finance.

Dozens of unsecured creditors, who collectively are owed more than £2m, have been warned they are unlikely to get anything.

Those creditors are mainly electrical goods companies but the list also includes broadcasters and newspapers with whom Laser had advertised.

The administrators’ report also casts more light on what led to Laser's demise.

It said that the company's business was hit by increasing competition from online and multinational retailers as well as the economic downturn.

A number of suppliers had their trade credit insurance in relation to Laser stopped, meaning the company had to deal on a cash basis with those suppliers.

Then, in January, its bankers reduced the firm's overdraft and the directors made an unsuccessful attempt to sell the business before the administrators were appointed in April.

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