Signature Living's Lawrence Kenwright to lodge CVA plans to save property business

18 May 2021 by
Signature Living's Lawrence Kenwright to lodge CVA plans to save property business

Hotelier Lawrence Kenwright (pictured) expects to lodge a recovery plan with his company's administrators "within weeks" after working with creditors to regain control of the property side of the business, which fell into administration last year.

Kenwright, the founder of Signature Living, has been restructuring the group under a new company, UK Accommodation Group (UKAGL), with a new board that includes representation from his unsecured creditors and is chaired by accountant Thomas Scullion.

Also on the board are long-term Signature Living investor Mike Spink and Des Lyons, founder and former owner of courier, freight and logistics company Air Action International.

The operational side of the business remains unaffected and the hotels are expected to reopen this month.

Kenwright said: "Having invited my investors into the business, the UKAGL board and I are working hard on pulling together a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) with the backing of the vast majority of our investors and funders and I'm confident that we'll submit that plan within weeks.

"We are in regular contact with our funders who are very supportive. They know that this process cannot happen overnight. This is a long game which supports all secured and unsecured investors and they are prepared to stay the course.

"I am grateful and highly appreciative of this huge level of support, not only in me, but also those who have ensured that the business has survived through the most torrid of trading conditions ever encountered in this sector.

"Our hotels have been closed for the vast majority of the last 12 months, which meant that it has been extremely difficult to gain new funding; after all who would fund any hotel when they are closed and causing values within the sector to plummet?"

Scullion said: "As both the UKAGL board's chairman and one of Signature Living's 433 retail investors, I can quite confidently state that the business is positioned to trade well and that reaching a robust resolution that suits everyone is growing. I am in regular contact with other investors and we are all helping to drive this effort forward, collaboratively.

"We are also actively working with the administrators to return the business back into the hands of the owners and into the control of the new board. It is in the interests now of everyone for this to happen, especially the unsecured creditors who faced losing all, without the support of Lawrence Kenwright and the UKAGL board's efforts.

"With new venues being completed and others close to the finish line and a new spirit of collaboration between funders and investors, Signature Living will be in a great position to capitalise on people's desire to embrace restored freedom of movement and socialising, as hospitality opens up again shortly."

To date Signature Living has opened the garden areas at the Shankly hotel, Rainhill Hall, Arthouse hotel and Alma de Cuba, all in and around Liverpool. The bar and restaurant at the Shankly hotel in Preston, the city's former Post Office, are expected to open in August.

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