Loan secured on Norwich store prioritised Greens over other creditors and follows a £50m payout in 2021
First published on Sun 9 Jan 2022 10.56 EST
Sir Philip Green and his family are poised to receive up to £2.5m more in payouts from their former Topshop retail empire on top of £50m paid out last year.
The Greens, who owned Arcadia Group until it fell into administration in 2020, are in line for the payment based on an £11m loan secured by their Aldsworth Equity group against a former Topshop store in Norwich.
The collapse of the group resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs as 162 sites closed down, and in a £500m-plus pension scheme deficit.
The Norwich loan arrangement, which is buried in administrators’ documents, prioritises the Greens’ debt above most other creditors.
The payout comes on top of the repayment of a £50m loan issued by Aldsworth against Topshop’s Daventry warehouse which was setteld in May after the building was sold by administrators.
In a new report sent to creditors of Topshop and seen by the Guardian, administrators say the 39,000 sq ft Norwich store, which Arcadia bought for £12m in 2016, has been sold for £2.5m and the Aldsworth fund will receive the proceeds, after costs.
The latest administrators’ report on the Greens’ retail empire showed that unsecured creditors to Topshop alone are owed almost £140m.
At least £36m of that money is expected to be repaid after the sale of the group’s assets including the Topshop brand and stock to online specialist Asos, but most creditors will not be paid in full.
It previously emerged that more than 1,000 suppliers to the group are likely to get less than 1% of the money owed to them.
In all, Arcadia Group Ltd, the parent company of Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Burton and Miss Selfridge, owed creditors £800m when it called in administrators, according to a statement of the group’s financial affairs prepared by Arcadia’s board in 2021.
The Guardian revealed last year that Arcadia Group had a pension deficit of £510m when it collapsed. Trustees of the scheme have so far received £185m from the sale of Arcadia assets as part of £210m in secured funds agreed under a 2019 deal between the pensions regulator and the Green family.
The family, who benefited from a £1.2bn dividend from Arcadia in 2005, as well as more than £300m in interest payments on loans and rents on properties that they owned, put in £100m of extra funding into the group’s pension under the deal.
The pension scheme is expected to receive more funds following the completion of the sale of Topshop’s long leasehold of its former flagship store on London’s Oxford Street to the parent group of furniture retailer Ikea.
The scheme is on course to remain independent of the industry-backed pensions lifeboat, which caps future payouts to savers. The Arcadia trustees believe that despite the £510m deficit, there will be sufficient funds to pay more than the pensions lifeboat can offer.
The Green family declined to comment.
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