Baile regains control of Excellar

Simon Baile has done a deal to buy back the bulk of his collapsed Excellar off-licence chain from its administrator.

The chain went into administration in late January after an attempt by Baile to buy Excellar in a pre-pack deal, through a new vehicle called Prebinvest, was stymied by a group of creditors.

After two weeks of talks with the ex-Odd- bins boss, creditors and other parties interested in buying the business, administrator Griffins decided a revised Prebinvest bid was the best deal on the table and it was signed on Tuesday.

Administrator Stephen Hunt confirmed that the business had been sold to a company “associated with Simon Baile”.

Documents filed at Companies House show that Prebinvest was incorporated on October 4 last year, originally as Baileco, with the name changed in November.

The initial registration documents on file show Baile’s wife Kathryn as sole director and shareholder.

Hunt said: “We were in negotiations with other parties who were interested in buying the business and had some good offers, but they would have taken some time which wouldn’t have been best for the creditors.”

Baile’s original pre-pack plan was blocked after opposition from creditors led by HM Revenue & Customs, Gordon Brothers and train operator Stagecoach, which had applied for Excellar to be wound up.

That move was blocked in court, but creditors succeeded in securing a change of administrator to Griffins from the company originally lined up to handle the pre-pack.

Hunt added: “We have changed the terms of the original Prebinvest deal so that it involves more cash payable sooner, which is better for the creditors.”

He added that Prebinvest had also agreed to take on some of the debts of the old Excellar business.

Hunt added: “[Baile] has been very good throughout this whole process. He co-operated with us on the administration and we’re very pleased with the outcome we’ve achieved.”

The deal includes four out of five shops being operated by Excellar when it went into administration, at Fulham and Surbiton in south west London and Ashtead and Claygate in Surrey.

Excellar’s branch at Farringdon in central London closed during the course of the administration.

Two others – at East Sheen, south west London, and in Paris – were closed by the old business in late 2012.

Baile told OLN in December that he planned to make changes to Excellar’s Farringdon and Fulham stores in London in 2013 and that future plans would focus around a wine/deli concept to drive day- time traffic.

Excellar entered administration less than two years after the same fate befell Oddbins. Baile was head of Oddbins when it went under in March 2011 with debts of more than £20 million.

Latest accounts for Excellar filed at Companies House showed a loss of just under £93,000 for 2011, on top of an £87,000 deficit in 2010.

Baile was unavailable for comment. 

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