Administrations

Specialist Leisure Group appoints EY as administrators

The Specialist Leisure Group has appointed Sam Woodward and Colin Dempster of EY’s restructuring team as joint administrators.

Specialist Leisure Group is a British hotel and leisure travel company specialising in escorted tours, short breaks, events and river cruises throughout the UK, Europe and worldwide for the over 50s.

Headquartered in Wigan the group employs over 2,400 people across its 44 UK hotels and travel brands.

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The group, which operates Shearings Holidays, National Holidays (trading as Caledonian Travel), UK Breakaways, Coast and Country Hotels, Bay Hotels, Country Living Hotels, and Wallace Arnold Travel, has ceased trading with immediate effect.

Bay Hotels, Coast and Country Hotels and Country Living Hotels will also not reopen.

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The administrators said that all tours, holidays and hotel breaks booked with the Specialist Leisure Group have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled. They added the “vast majority” of customers are expected to have financial protection from one of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, Bonded Coach Holidays, ATOL or ABTA, or through their credit or debit card issuer.

In addition, administrators revealed that, “regrettably”, the jobs of 2,460 employees, 2,207 of which were furloughed at the time of appointment, will now be made redundant. Approximately 70 employees will initially be retained to assist the administrators in disposing of the assets and winding down the business.

Joint administrator, Sam Woodward, said: “The group has been significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic as all tours, trips and events have been cancelled and the hotels closed to the public, leading to a significant cash shortfall.

“The directors of the group have been in discussions with a number of parties, seeking a going concern buyer for the business. Unfortunately, despite interest in the group as a whole and in parts, no viable transaction structure was able to be agreed and, as a result, the group was placed into administration.”

Woodward added: “Our immediate priority is to advise and support those employees and customers that have been impacted by the Group’s insolvency. We are making every effort to contact all customers, who have had their bookings cancelled as a result of the administrations or Covid-19, with information to assist them in making a claim.

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