Debenhams parent company appoints administrators

Celine Group Holdings, the holding company for Debenhams, has reportedly called in advisers to prepare its own administration.

Philip Watkins and Philip Armstrong from FRP Advisory have been called in as advisers, The Times reports. The move means Celine wouldn’t have to pay overdue interest payments on 200 million pounds of bonds which were reportedly due on 15 July.

The administration would reportedly not affect Debenhams’ sales, staff, customers or suppliers.

Debenhams itself fell into a ‘light touch’ administration in April after the Covid-19 outbreak and its ensuing lockdown impacted the retailer’s already difficult trading. The process is also being handled by FRP Advisory. It was the second time the retailer had fallen into administration in as many years.

It meant the 242-year-old company was delisted and its shareholders wiped out. It was then acquired by a consortium - known as Celine - of financial investors including Silver Point Capital and GoldenTree Asset Management.

Celine Group Holdings appoints administrators

In late July it was revealed that Debenhams had appointed investment bank Lazard to oversee a potential sales process for which it hopes to find a buyer before September. Possible outcomes include its owners retaining the business, new joint-venture arrangements with existing and potential new investors, or a sale to a third party.

Debenhams has cut an estimated 6,500 jobs since the outbreak of the pandemic, with 2,500 of those announced earlier this month and affecting staff throughout its stores and warehouses.

The department store chain is also reportedly scrapping the roles of sales manager, visual merchandise manager and selling support manager as it looks to streamline its shopfloor teams, according to Retail Week.

Since April, Debenhams has reopened 124 of its 142 stores following negotiations with landlords.

Photo credit: FashionUnited


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