August 21, 2008
Administrators Start Shutting Cains Pubs ; Brothers Still Own Brewery
By ALEX TURNER
THE administrators of Liverpool brewer Cains have begun shutting the loss-making pubs in the group.It also emerged yesterday that brothers Sudarghara and Ajmail Dusanj, who bought Cains in 2002, still own the brewery and a number of pubs.
The administrators, PricewaterhouseCoopers, refused to confirm the number or location of the closures until all the affected staff had been informed, which might not be completed until next week.
Cains Beer Company, which operates the Toxteth brewery and around 100 pubs, has been trading as a going concern since entering administration on August 7.
The company added 92 pubs to its portfolio in 2007 when it bought Honeycombe Leisure in a reverse takeover for pounds 37m.
However, this deal, which left the company with heavy borrowings and increased Cains' exposure to the slowdown in the pub sector, was at the root of the company's recent financial problems. Former Cains chief executive Sudarghara Dusanj confirmed to the Daily Post that the troubled company does not own the brewery or about 10 Cains- branded pubs, including Doctor Duncans, the Dispensary and the Brewery Tap.
They are instead owned by a Dusanj family company and leased to Cains.
It is understood the rent was about pounds 500,000 a year.
Sudarghara Dusanj said: "The family does own the brewery, including the plant, fixtures and fittings, and some pubs. The family trust bought the brewery freehold in 2002."
He remained tightlipped about whether he intended to try and buy the company from the administrators, but confirmed they had been in discussions.
"We are not quite sure yet if we are going to put a package together.
We have just been talking to the administrators," he said. "We think its a superb business and a great opportunity to build a great brand.
We have always said that."
More than 50 companies have lodged expressions of interest with the administrators and companies are continuing to come forward.
The administrators expect to identify the serious bidders next week.
In a statement, the administrators confirmed the programme of closures, which will take place in the coming days.
It said: "The challenges faced by the pub sector are well-known and, consequently, it is not surprising that, within the Cains Group portfolio, there are loss-making pubs which are not likely to realise any value for the creditors in the administration.
"We regret that staff at the loss making pubs are being made redundant.
"We continue to trade the remainder of the business and are dealing with numerous parties who have contacted us expressing interest in the group."
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