Macmerry300 abandon ship?

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Liquidators have been appointed to troubled bar group Macmerry 300. Blair Nimmo and Geoff Jacobs from Interpath Advisory announced their appointment as joint liquidators of the company yesterday.

The company, owned by Macmerry directors Phil Donaldson and AJ McMenemy, had a meteoric rise since starting out in 2014. It opened more than 12 bars over its tenure, with AJ McMenemy telling DRAM three years ago “The plan is to open 10 Abandon Ship units across the UK in the next 34 months.” Unfortunately, these plans have now been abandoned, although Belford Ltd, of which AJ McMenemy is a director has taken over the “ownership of the bars” according to Unite.

Over the last 12 months, Macmerry has been plagued by negative publicity over the alleged mistreatment of staff with 70% of them, backed by Unite, bringing a collective grievance against the company.

In a statement, Interpath Advisory said, “Due to the detrimental impact of COVID-19 restrictions upon trading performance, cost pressures and recent reports alleging mistreatment of staff, the Company incurred losses, which resulted in substantial liabilities being accrued.

“With significant financial pressure being faced by the Company, in early June 2022 the director resolved that the Company was insolvent and should be wound-up voluntarily.  The Company instructed Blair Nimmo and Geoff Jacobs to convene the necessary meeting of members and to assist with the creditors’ decision to place the Company into Liquidation.

“It is understood that a transfer of certain assets took place in May 2022; accordingly, with no available funding and certain of the Company’s assets having been sold, regrettably, the Joint Liquidators had no option but to make all of the Company’s 63 staff redundant upon appointment.

Blair Nimmo, Chief Executive of Interpath Advisory and Joint Liquidator, said, “This is, unfortunately, a further example of a business within the hospitality and leisure sector being unable to withstand ongoing testing trading conditions, as the re-emergence from COVID-related restrictions continue against a backdrop of accumulated debt.”

Geoff Jacobs, managing director of Interpath Advisory and Joint Liquidator, commented, “Our immediate priority will be to assist employees with their claims to the Redundancy Payments Office, as well as safeguarding any remaining Company assets and ascertaining from the director the circumstances under which the recent transfer of assets occurred and carrying out appropriate investigations.”

The company parted ways with graphic designer Richard Davies, who ran the Abandon Ship bars in partnership with Donaldson and McMenemy a few months ago. He is now running Luchador in Glasgow’s southside.

While on the 27th May HMRC  filed a winding-up petition at Dundee Sheriff Court on May 27. That request was made by the Advocate General for Scotland on behalf of HMRC. A posting on The Gazette, the UK Government’s official journal of record, notes that HMRC requests Macmerry300 Ltd “be wound up by the Court and to appoint a liquidator.”

Macmerry300 bars included Glasgow bar The Bull on Great Western Road and Bird and Bear, Draffens and Nola in Dundee.

Although the liquidators have said that 63 staff will be made redundant, a company which has AJ McMenemy as a Director, Belford Ltd,  has told Unite that it will be re-employing the employees.

Unite Hospitality’s Bryan Simpson told The National, “Following discussions between Unite and Mr Donaldson, we have been assured that all of these workers are to be re-engaged to work for Belfort Ltd who will be taking over ownership of these bars.

“Our members have since received engagement letters to that effect from Belford Director AJ McMenemy.”

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