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Brantano gets rescued a month after calling the administrators

By Angela Gonzalez-Rodriguez


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Brantano, the shoemaker investment firm Alteri bought in last October and which called in administrators at the end of January, has seen some light at the end of the tunnel thanks to a rescue plan that will save more than 1,400 jobs.

It’s noteworthy that Brantano’s collapse is the first high-profile failure on the high street this year. Alteri, which had paid an estimated 12 million pounds to buy Brantano and Jones Bootmaker from Dutch company Macintosh barely three months before the business collapsed, had made “sustained efforts” to rescue Brantano, according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers, that serve as administrators of the company.

Administrators chose Alteri over ten potential suitors to rescue Brantano

In a matter of days, the administrator received more than 10 expressions of interests from private investors and other retailers about buying the chain. From the very beginning, PwC guaranteed its intention to find a buyer for Brantano as a whole, with its shops remaining open in the meanwhile.

However, the retailer has been broken up to make the most out of its prime sites. Brantano’s shops are primarily large out-of-town units in retail parks, while the concessions are located in garden centres.

In the end, it has been Alteri that has now bought back 81 Brantano stores and 59 concessions, a total 140 shops, out of the 200 shops from the administrators. As a result, about 1,400 retail jobs have been saved.

“Of this interest, the offer from Alteri represents the best outcome for creditors and employees. We are delighted that 1,372 jobs have been preserved through the transaction and thank the Brantano team for working closely and collaboratively with us throughout what has been a difficult period for the business,” summarised the deal Robert Moran, deals partner at PwC.

Tony Barrell, lead administrator at PwC, explained back in January that Brantano had been hit hard by the change in consumer shopping habits: “The continuing challenging conditions for bricks and mortar retail stores are well documented. Like many others, Brantano has been hit hard by the change in consumers’ shopping habits and the evolution of the UK retail environment.”

It’s worth recalling that the administration has only involved Brantano (UK) Limited, the UK arm of the brand and that US-based Jones Bootmaker is not affected.

Brantano, which is owned by private equity firm Alteri, has 140 shops and 60 concessions across the UK, employing about 2,000 staff. The firm was founded in Belgium in 1953 and expanded into the UK by buying 47 Shoe City shops in 1998.

Alteri thought to have paid 10 million pounds for best performing Brantano’s stores

Alteri is thought to have paid less than 10 million pounds to buy back Brantano, although the financial details were not disclosed, reported the ‘Telegraph’. In this regard, Gavin George, chief executive of Alteri, defended the deal and insisted he had “wanted to find a solvent solution”.

Likewise, George added that Alteri had tried to strike an agreement with Brantano’s landlords about reducing its rent bill before calling in administrators and also played down the threat of suppliers missing out on millions of pounds of overdue payments.

“It is unlikely that many are going to lose out,” he said. “We tried really, really hard to undertake the restructuring solvently, but we were unable to do so. This is the only way we could restructure the business to give it a good go-forward position.”

In the meantime, PwC will continue to run the remaining Brantano stores and try to find a buyer. However, they warned redundancies will be “inevitable” if a deal is not agreed soon.

Robert Moran, deals partner at PwC, said the Alteri offer was the “best outcome for creditors and employees,” further stating that “From discussions held over the last few weeks, there was interest from a number of parties, both trade and private equity, for the Brantano business.”