FRP Advisory has announced it has helped to secure a future for Plymouth-based Blue O Two, a travel company specialising in overseas diving trips, after completing a pre-pack sale for the non-licensable part of the business.
Restructuring advisory partners Andrew Sheridan and Simon Stibbons were appointed as joint administrators and immediately completed the sale of the non-licensable part of the business to Scuba Tours Worldwide.
Blue O Two has been trading for more than 18 years but travel restrictions during the pandemic meant refunds totalling more than £3m were made to customers, and it was no longer able to meet its financial obligations.
Without investment the business faced closure, which would have impacted more than 3,000 customers.
FRP said the majority of the company’s customers will be unaffected by the administration and sale, with their booking simply transferring to the new owners. Nearly all other customers will be able to claim a refund, either through their ATOL protection or their credit card operator, or are protected by financial failure insurance, meaning that no customer will lose the value of their booking.
Sheridan said: “This has been an incredibly tough time for the travel industry with even well-established businesses like Blue O Two facing significant challenges.
“We’re therefore delighted to have secured a sale of the non-licensable part of the business, which saved the jobs of all employees, whilst also protecting the holidays of customers. We wish the owners every success in taking the business forward.”
Nathan Tyler, director of Blue O Two, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic presented the travel industry, and us, with the greatest challenge in history. Before COVID, our business was a high growth success story.
“Despite our best efforts and determination, the financial impact of the pandemic became too great, and we were forced to restructure our business. FRP have been instrumental in helping the business achieve a solution that not only protected jobs but also protects customers and keeps our life’s work alive.”