Hotel and restaurant operator the Maypole Group has today gone into administration.
The news follows a turbulent two years for the business in which it suffered cash-flow problems and saw its chief executive step down.
Joint administrators Simon Bower and Bruce Mackay of Baker Tilly Restructuring and Recovery intend to ensure the business continues to trade under their control. It is being marketed for sale as a going concern.
The group's chief executive, Alastair McEwen, stepped down from his role to become operations director in June, after the company reported a 4.5% rise in like-for-like sales despite the poor weather at the start of the year.
The Maypole Group had also managed to slow its losses for the year to 31 December 2009, making a pre-tax loss of £465,000 for the period, compared with a pre-tax loss of £1.2m the year before when it was revealed that the company was in talks with its lenders after a poor fourth quarter of 2008 raised doubts over its future.
Commenting on the administration, Bower said the prospects for selling the established portfolio of six pub-hotels across Norfolk, Suffolk and Wiltshire remain strong and indicated that a number of parties have already come forward.
The company was founded in 2003 with the intention of being an acquisition vehicle for UK countryside hotels with restaurants or pubs attached.
In February 2004, it raised £607,798 by way of a private placing to assist with its first acquisition, the 32-bedroom Wroxton House hotel near Banbury in Oxfordshire, for £2.15m.
The acquisition of the Lifeboat Inn and Old Coach House, both located in Thornham, Norfolk, was completed in April 2005 for an aggregate price of £5m.
In March 2007, Maypole completed the acquisition of the 15-bedroom Wayford Bridge hotel, Norfolk, for a total consideration of £1,950,000.
By Janie Stamford
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