Botanic Inns has emphasised that it's business as usual at its pubs – despite a winding up order over one of its companies.
Botanic Inns Limited, which operates five pub businesses and an off-licence out of 14 venues in the group, faces a debt of more than £60,000 for its Belfast HQ.
Almost all the other venues are under the ownership of sister company Kurkova Limited.
As revealed in yesterday's Belfast Telegraph, John and Helen Miskelly, the landlord of the company's Ormeau Road headquarters, have lodged a winding-up petition against Botanic Inns Ltd over a debt of £60,615.
The company vacated the office last Friday and is now using an office above its Horatio Todd's venue in east Belfast as it headquarters.
Mr Miskelly, who also owns Ten Square Hotel in the city centre, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Botanic Inns also had no further comment to make – but yesterday a lobby group for the licensed trade came out in support of the business. Colin Neill, chief executive of Pubs of Ulster, said: "We are disappointed to see the media coverage about the position the Botanic Inns group has been placed in by the landlord of one of their administrative buildings.
"The move by the landlord of the Botanic Inns group headquarter building will not impact on the day-to-day trading at bars and pubs owned by the group.
"We are working closely with the management at the Botanic Inns group and as one of our most high-profile members are confident that they continue to provide a quality offering. They have our full support."
Outlets that trade under Botanic Inns Ltd, all in Belfast, are The King's Head, The Botanic Inn, off-licence Dr:nk, Madison's Hotel, The Elms and The Northern Whig.
Two years ago administrators were appointed by the Republic's bad bank Nama to Lanyon Trading and Lisk, owned by the Co Clare-based landlords of those pubs. Botanic Inns Ltd is a tenant paying rent to administrators appointed by Nama, Keenan Corporate Finance.
The relationship of Botanic Inns Ltd and Nama is continuing and has been unaffected.
The other pubs in the wider group are The Kitchen Bar; The Apartment; Molly Brown's; Denvir's Hotel in Downpatrick; McHugh's; Ryan's; The Fly; Horatio Todd's and The Parador.
A company facing a winding-up order could be put into liquidation by the court, or its lenders could appoint administrators to take over the company and run it to achieve the best results for creditors. This could mean the sale of the company or its assets.
The Belfast Telegraph revealed Botanic Inns Limited is facing a winding-up order over unpaid rent on its HQ. The pub group, which runs 14 venues, has said it's "business as usual". Its Twitter feed was filled with special offers and events at its pubs. One tweet following yesterday's report declared: "Thanks @beltel for your concern, but we're fine and it's business as usual. Why not support us by coming in for a drink? Lots going on in our pubs."