Creditors are meeting today to cast a 'make it or break it' vote on the future of Homebase.
The beleaguered DIY chain, which recently revealed that 70% of its outlets are losing money, has proposed the closure of 42 stores. As part of its Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) it has also proposed cutting rents by up to 90% on some of its remaining stores.
However, it has been revealed that several landlords likely to be affected by the CVA are now considering legal action against the retailer. Corporate advisor firm Begbies Traynor and law firm Hogan Lovells have been hired by several landlords who will be affected by the proposed drop in rental payments.
Landlords M&G and Aberdeen Asset Management are said to be among those considering legal action against the retailer. Both landlords have reportedly said that the rental cuts – between 25% and 90% across 70 stores – are too steep.
Homebase owner Hilco Captial, which bought the chain for just £1 from Wesfarmers back in May, has now said that if the CVA is not approved, Homebase will “very likely” go into administration.
The private equity firm has proposed a revival of the brand over three years, with the promise of a £25m investment and up to £116m of debt – but this all rests on creditors backing the CVA.
The proposed changes to the store portfolio will mean redundancies from those stores earmarked for closure. The process is expected to lead to a reduction of up to 1,500 roles.
Hilco is known for having revived struggling retailers, most notably HMV which was brought back from the brink of administration back in 2013. However, the firm was unsuccessful in its attempts to save Allders and Allied Carpets.