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Debts at Oddbins’ supplier revealed following company going into administration

European Food Brokers Limited, the supplier and sister company of former-UK wine retailers Oddbins, which was placed in formal administration in late December, has left debts of over £3.208 million, documents published on Companies House have revealed.

Oddbins, which was bought out of administration by Wine Retail Holdings Limited, a subsidiary of European Food Brokers’ parent company EFB Holdings Ltd, closed its UK bricks and mortar estate in late November, citing the changed buying habits of customers during lockdown, which had proved “difficult to reverse”. It was reported to be pivoting to online operations, due to the fall in commuter footfall, however the website is no longer operating and Wine Retail Limited along with the sister company that supplied it, European Food Brokers Limited, were placed in administration on 18 and 15 December respectively, with Begbies Traynor appointed as the administrator.

According to a statement of affairs filed at Companies House, European Food Brokers Limited recorded a shortfall to preferential creditors of £105,195, with the estimated deficiency as regards creditors set at £3.208 million. This included debts to trade creditors of £514,614, employees (£260,394), HMRC (CT) 12,964 and its landlord (£315,000).

Among its non-preferential creditors, the biggest debt was recorded as being to Efb Property Investments 2 (IOM) Ltd, at £315,000, followed by HMRC (£147,539), but many importers and distributors were included on the list. These included Burgundy-based wine trading company Maison Roche de Bellene (which were owed £28,282),  Justerini and Brooks (owed £20,554), Farr Vintners (owed £18,000), Gerard Bertrand (owed £20,459), Chateau Elie Sumerie (owed £20,236), Mentzendorff (owed £18,203), Maison Marques et Domaines (owed £16,729), along with US company Matchbrook Wine Co, Oakley Wine Agencies, Armit Wine and London-based Argentina specialist, Hispamerchants among others.

It recorded nearly £1.5million worth of stock among its assets subject to a floating charge.

Meanwhile Wine Retail Limited, which operates as Oddbins, also published its statement of affairs, listing estimated overall assets of only £6,700 while recording £957,332 worth of stock.

The shortfall to preferential creditors was listed as £329,935. Among the debts to preferential creditors were debts of £248,641 to HMRC, as well as unpaid arrears to staff of nearly £88,000.

The overall estimated shortfall as regards creditors was recorded as £3.7 million (including a long-standing £2m floating charge),

Overall, it left debts of over £1million pounds. Its largest creditor was its parent company, amounting to £480,875, followed by a total of £248,641 to HMRC, as well as an unsecured loan from loan company Youlend, of £190,329.

According to Companies House, Wine Retail Ltd’s immediate parent company, Wine Retail Holdings Limited as well as the ultimate parent company, EFB Holdings Ltd, are still operating.

European Food Brokers originally appointed administrators for all four of its retail businesses (EFB Retail Ltd, Whittalls Wine Merchants 1 and Wine Merchants 2 (operating as Oddbins ) and sister company Wine Cellars Trading Limited in 2019, citing Brexit for the decision. More than 70 stores were closed but 28 stores were bought out of  administration in June 2020 by Wine Retail Limited. Although Oddbin’s ecommerce operation seemed to boom during the pandemic, rising 800%, accounts filed in November 2022 showed the retailer’s debts to creditors rise.

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