Belfast Telegraph

Vaping firm VIP in administration with 265 jobs at risk

E-cigarette firm VIP has collapsed into administration, putting 265 jobs at risk.

FRP Advisory has been appointed as administrator to Must Have Limited, which trades as VIP and has 165 retail stores across the UK.

VIP, which is based in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, will continue trading and all 265 staff will be retained while FRP seeks a buyer for the business.

Its US owner, Electronic Cigarettes International Group (ECIG), said Must Have Limited was placed in administration after it was left unable to pay taxes of around three million US dollars (£2.5 million) to HM Revenue and Customs.

The group added the administration has also triggered around 104 million US dollars (£85.3 million) of outstanding debt to be "immediately due and payable".

Dan O'Neill, chief executive of ECIG, said: "Legacy financial commitments and Must Have Limited's under-performance in the UK prevented the subsidiary from meeting its financial obligations."

He added they were now looking at "strategic alternatives" to address the administration and debt payments.

As well as VIP, ECIG also owns vaping brands FIN and Vapestick.

Anthony Collier, joint administrator and partner at FRP Advisory, said: "VIP is a strong and well-established brand in the e-cigarette market.

"Historically the business has been profitable and cash generative and we are seeking to continue to trade the business whilst a purchaser is sought and invite interested parties to contact the administrators."

VIP was bought by ECIG, formerly known as Victory Electronic Cigarettes Corporation, in 2014 for around £30 million.

It was launched in 2009 by co-founders Miguel Corral and David Levin.