Betting shop landlords between a rock and a hard place
According to a report in the business section of the Irish Times, local betting group Boylesports is making moves aimed at taking over Ladbrokes' loss-making Irish retail business, placed under High Court protection earlier this year at Ladbrokes request (see previous InfoPowa reports).
The Deloittes manager appointed by the court as examiner to oversee a rescue bid, Ken Fennell, has reportedly been approached by Boylesports, which has devised an alternative plan, details of which have yet to be made public.
The newspaper quotes sources who say that the plan may still involve some closures, but that it offers creditors a better deal than that offered by Ladbrokes.
One of the contentious points is the amount of compensation Ladbrokes has proposed to landlords impacted by the possible surrender of property leases in the closure plan.
A number of landlords have expressed dissatisfaction with the compensation proposals, with one revealing that on a lease on which Euro 467,500 is due over the next five years, he had been offered a "derisory" Euro 12,000 to Euro 24,000.
Another said he had been offered Euro 6,000 as compensation on a lease that had a five year life at a return of Euro 275,000.
Creditors, who have been told that there is the possibility of an application to the High Court allowing Ladbrokes to repudiate its obligations in terms of examinership rules, are likely to be interested in what Boylesports has to offer, but the company must first convince Fennel that it is superior to the Ladbrokes strategy, and any bid will also have to be approved by the Commission for Competition and Consumer Protection.
Earlier this year Ladbrokes posted Euro 5 million in 2014 losses from its Irish retail network, triggering a review and an application for examinership in Ireland. The Ladbrokes restructuring plan currently envisages the closure of 60 of the company's 196 Irish betting shops, with the possible loss of 250 jobs.
Online Casino News Courtesy of Infopowa