Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Nice Cuppa Not Gonna Relieve This Pain

They say that no matter how bad the situation there is nothing better to help you through it than a nice cup of tea. However, I doubt this was the case for the bosses an employees of Whittards who have become the latest High Street victim of the credit crunch as tea is their primary business.

Whittards had been backed by the Icelandic bank Landsbanki and owner by Icelandic investors Baugur. But following the failed Icelandic bank cutting the companies funding lines so Ernst and Young are prepared to step in as administrators for the company who have been the purveyors of fine teas for 122 years.

500 staff across the chains 130 stores will be going home for Christmas tomorrow with one wish; hoping Ernst and Young find an interested party to buy the company. But with Whittards facing a rent bill on Christmas it may be bailiffs and not father Christmas who is taking drinks for the company founded in Chelsea. As Nick Hood predicted the other day as many as 10 chains may be in imminent danger, as many others are owned or financed by Icelandic money it may be worth looking at the states of their financial positions with regards to the immediate future.

Update: Then again it is always hard to resist a fine cup of tea, or for that matter a whole company. Apparently private equity investor Epic have stepped in to buy Whittards apparently in a deal brokered by former Whittards boss Will Hobhouse.

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