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Comet to close final stores as government launches investigation into collapse

Comet will close all 49 of its remaining stores today as it emerged that The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has launched an investigation into the purchase and administration of the failed electrical retailer.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Comet to close final stores as government launches investigation into collapse

Comet will close all 49 of its remaining stores today as it emerged that The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has launched an investigation into the purchase and administration of the failed electrical retailer.

A report by administrators Deloitte says that secured creditors including Hailey Acquisitions, the vehicle Opcapita used to buy the retailer, will receive only £52 million of the £145 million which they are owed. Unsecured creditors, including HM Revenue & Customs, are likely to receive nothing. HMRC is owed £26.2 million.

Opcapita bought Comet for £2 in November 2011 and received a £50 million dowry from previous owner Kesa. Its investment vehicle Hailey Acquisitions is expected to receive payments of just under £50 million as a secured creditor, which is a shortfall of £95 million on the amount owed.

Deloitte also confirmed that the taxpayer will pick up a £49.4 million bill due to there being insufficient funds to pay the redundancy, holiday and notice pay owed to Comet’s 6,600 workers.

The firm added that it remains in talks with a small number of parties regarding the sale of internet operations and the brand.

Comet operated 236 stores before it collapsed into administration last month. Deloitte said that 118 parties had expressed interest in buying the retailer with four making offers. However, the offers were withdrawn when the prospective purchasers saw the state of Comet’s finances.

 

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