23 Jun 2016 12:30pm

BHS creditors and Pension Protection Fund vote to appoint second administrator

BHS’s creditors have approved the appointment of a second administrator for the retailer at a meeting in London today

The retailer’s creditors met to vote on whether or not to approve further work by current administrator Duff & Phelps and to review a report on the administration so far.

Following a proposal by the Pension Protection Fund, BHS’s biggest creditor, FRP Advisory is now expected to be appointed as joint administrators of BHS alongside Duff & Phelps.

Malcolm Weir, head of restructuring and insolvency at the PPF, said, “At the creditors meeting we voted to appoint additional administrators to work with the current administrators. This is an unusual step, but one we regard as appropriate given the circumstances of this administration. As a result, following an application to court, we would expect FRP to be appointed to work alongside Duff & Phelps.”

FRP Advisory has declined to comment “unless and until” they are appointed.

The PPF, whose role is to protect the pensions of insolvent companies, called for a second administrator to be appointed to BHS following accusations that the current administrator Duff & Phelps has too close a connection with Sir Philip Green, the former owner of BHS.

Dominic Chappell previously told MPs that Green’s relationship with the administrators meant they were “heavily conflicted” and claimed that it was Green who appointed Duff & Phelps, despite no longer being the owner of the retailer.

“They are, as Philip refers to them, his ponies, and they do exactly what Philip tells them to do,” he told MPs at a parliamentary inquiry session.

Green has denied Chappell’s allegations that he had any improper influence over Duff & Phelps’ appointment.

BHS collapsed into administration in April and earlier this month, Duff & Phelps announced that the troubled retailer was to be wound down after attempts to secure a rescue deal failed, putting 11,000 jobs at risk and leaving a £571m pension deficit.

“Despite the considerable efforts of the administrators and BHS senior management it has not been possible to agree a sale of the business. Although multiple offers were received, none were able to complete a deal due the working capital required to secure the future of the company,” Philip Duffy and Benjamin Wiles, managing directors of Duff & Phelps said.

All 163 stores are now in close down sale mode.

Once appointed, FRP Advisory will work alongside Duff & Phelps and will be responsible for investigating BHS’s former directors, including Green.

As MPs continue their inquiry into the collapse of BHS, Frank Field and Ian Wright have written to Green’s wife, Tina, asking her to explain the structure of family companies behind the couple’s retail empire.

Green has pledged to find a solution to the retailer’s pension deficit.

Sinead Moore

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