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Hope fades for Benjys after new collapse

15 February 2007
Hope fades for Benjys after new collapse

Benjys' days look numbered after the troubled sandwich chain collapsed into administration for the second time in a year.

About 400 jobs are at risk after all 46 Benjys branches were placed into administration by private equity owner Hamilton Bradshaw last week.

Myles Halley, UK head of middle market at KPMG Corporate Restructuring, which was appointed to sell the business as a going concern, said buyers have been thin on the ground. "Over the last few weeks the directors have tried unsuccessfully to find a buyer, but the administrators will continue to seek offers from interested parties," he said.

However, a source close to the company said the situation was not looking hopeful. "Discussions with potential backers broke down, bringing about Benjys' collapse," the source said. "While there was hope for resurrection, there isn't much now."

Stephen Minall, food service consultant and director of supply chain consultancy Moving Foods, agreed that the company will be difficult to sell.

"Benjys tried to be an everything-to-everyone brand, but it didn't work and it lost its appeal to customers," he said. "It will be very difficult to relaunch it as a brand, as customers have lost interest."

Benjys was placed into administration for the first time last year by previous backers Barclays and ECI Ventures. It was then sold to Hamilton Bradshaw by Deloitte, a move that reportedly saw Barclays lose about £26m.

• As Caterer went to press, it emerged that sandwich chain Eat has snapped up between 10 and 12 of Benjys' central London sites, including outlets in Holborn and Bond Street London Underground station.

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