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Philip Green's Arcadia group on a knife-edge as creditors vote on rescue plan - business live Philip Green's Arcadia group on a knife-edge as creditors vote on rescue plan - business live
(32 minutes later)
Oh dear! We’ve now hearing that the results of the creditors’ vote may not come for another hour or so.
Hearing we might not get result of Arcadia CVA vote until 5 or even 5.30.. not looking promising..
That’s two hours later than expected.
What does it mean?
It could be a sign that at least one of the seven CVA agreements has been rejected (confusingly, there is one vote for each of Arcadia’s seven brands).
Or it could mean that Sir Philip Green is engaged in some last-minute arm twisting.
This is turning into a repeat of last Wednesday’s meeting, when the CVA process was dramatically delayed once it became clear the vote was going against Arcadia.
Journalists, alas, weren’t allowed into today’s Arcadia meeting, but here’s some photos from outside:
ARCADIA UPDATE: Such a little sign for such an important meeting. #arcadia #arcadialive pic.twitter.com/G7IHtVuV67
One intrepid National journalist almost made it into the Arcadia CVA before security realised he wasn't P Green Esq pic.twitter.com/GR31PkrgwZ
The bells of St Paul’s have rung out to mark 4pm.
But there’s no word from Arcadia’s creditors meeting, just around the corner from the Cathedral at Etc Venues on Aldersgate. Surely the result of the votes will come soon....
Brexit has helped to drag Arcadia to the brink of administration, says senior market analyst Fiona Cincotta of City Index.Brexit has helped to drag Arcadia to the brink of administration, says senior market analyst Fiona Cincotta of City Index.
She points out that a clutch of retailers have hit serious problems since the 2016 referendum:She points out that a clutch of retailers have hit serious problems since the 2016 referendum:
Brexit is slowly but incredibly persistently eroding the confidence and the spending power of the British consumer. The process started fairly discreetly but given that it has now been in place for close to three years it is claiming more and more victims.Brexit is slowly but incredibly persistently eroding the confidence and the spending power of the British consumer. The process started fairly discreetly but given that it has now been in place for close to three years it is claiming more and more victims.
Notable business failures this year alone include Debenhams, LK Bennett, Wine Direct, Office Outlet, Steamer Trading, Patisserie Valerie, OddBins and Jamie Oliver’s chain of restaurants. The list is already long and scary enough without adding the big closures of 2017 and 2018.Notable business failures this year alone include Debenhams, LK Bennett, Wine Direct, Office Outlet, Steamer Trading, Patisserie Valerie, OddBins and Jamie Oliver’s chain of restaurants. The list is already long and scary enough without adding the big closures of 2017 and 2018.
Factor in the rise in online shopping, and high business rates, and it all adds up to a crisis.Factor in the rise in online shopping, and high business rates, and it all adds up to a crisis.
The Arcadia crisis has put Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVA) under the spotlight.The Arcadia crisis has put Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVA) under the spotlight.
CVAs allow a company to restructure itself without going into a formal administration or liquidation. The theory is that it lets fundamentally decent businesses shed underperforming assets and keep running.CVAs allow a company to restructure itself without going into a formal administration or liquidation. The theory is that it lets fundamentally decent businesses shed underperforming assets and keep running.
The practice, critics say, is that creditors are kicked in the teeth when their customers use CVAs to escape contracts.The practice, critics say, is that creditors are kicked in the teeth when their customers use CVAs to escape contracts.
In Arcadia’s case, the firm hopes to cut its overall rental bill (which is says is simply too high in today’s retail environment), and close 23 stores (with another 27 are also earmarked for closure).In Arcadia’s case, the firm hopes to cut its overall rental bill (which is says is simply too high in today’s retail environment), and close 23 stores (with another 27 are also earmarked for closure).
Retail chain Sports Direct has just kicked out at CVAs, saying they let “barely managed” businesses limp on. It’s launching a legal challenge to Debenhams’ recent CVA (which thwarted Mike Ashley’s attempts to take the company over).Retail chain Sports Direct has just kicked out at CVAs, saying they let “barely managed” businesses limp on. It’s launching a legal challenge to Debenhams’ recent CVA (which thwarted Mike Ashley’s attempts to take the company over).
Sports Direct chooses the day of the second Arcadia CVA vote to criticise CVAs in a statement. It claims CVAs are “now being used as a tool to repair fundamentally barely managed businesses”. Yesterday Sports Direct and others launched a legal challenge against the Debenhams CVA pic.twitter.com/6khcipxWKWSports Direct chooses the day of the second Arcadia CVA vote to criticise CVAs in a statement. It claims CVAs are “now being used as a tool to repair fundamentally barely managed businesses”. Yesterday Sports Direct and others launched a legal challenge against the Debenhams CVA pic.twitter.com/6khcipxWKW
This is turning into another worrying day for Arcadia’s 18,000 staff, as they wait for news on whether landlords will accept Philip Greens’ CVA proposal or not.This is turning into another worrying day for Arcadia’s 18,000 staff, as they wait for news on whether landlords will accept Philip Greens’ CVA proposal or not.
Jobs and pensions are both at risk, says Vishal Makkar, Head of Retirement Consulting at Buck, the pensions consultancy:Jobs and pensions are both at risk, says Vishal Makkar, Head of Retirement Consulting at Buck, the pensions consultancy:
“With the traditional British high street struggling in recent years, and both Debenhams and House of Fraser recently calling in the administrators, news of the Arcadia Group potentially entering administration itself should perhaps come as no surprise.“With the traditional British high street struggling in recent years, and both Debenhams and House of Fraser recently calling in the administrators, news of the Arcadia Group potentially entering administration itself should perhaps come as no surprise.
But, surprising or not, Arcadia’s closure will have some very real implications for thousands of people.But, surprising or not, Arcadia’s closure will have some very real implications for thousands of people.
With up to 18,000 jobs at stake and a pension scheme deficit of £750m, Arcadia’s staff face the prospect of redundancy and a sizeable cutback in pension benefits, if the Group falls into the Protection Pension Levy (PPF).With up to 18,000 jobs at stake and a pension scheme deficit of £750m, Arcadia’s staff face the prospect of redundancy and a sizeable cutback in pension benefits, if the Group falls into the Protection Pension Levy (PPF).
This is interesting. Ashley Armstrong of the Telegraph has heard that Arcadia told landlords that it only needs 300 stores, rather than its current 500+ estate.This is interesting. Ashley Armstrong of the Telegraph has heard that Arcadia told landlords that it only needs 300 stores, rather than its current 500+ estate.
That suggests further closures, or sales, are possible, even if today’s rescue deal is approved [reminder: Arcadia is currently only planning to shut 50 stores]That suggests further closures, or sales, are possible, even if today’s rescue deal is approved [reminder: Arcadia is currently only planning to shut 50 stores]
EXCL: So apparently landlords have been told Arcadia only needs 300 "critical mass" stores, hinting that even if CVA goes through they'll be loads more closures. And a potential sale - gives landlords hope on their 20% stakes?EXCL: So apparently landlords have been told Arcadia only needs 300 "critical mass" stores, hinting that even if CVA goes through they'll be loads more closures. And a potential sale - gives landlords hope on their 20% stakes?
Heads-up.... the Arcadia results may not come until 4pm, an hour later than we thought.Heads-up.... the Arcadia results may not come until 4pm, an hour later than we thought.
ARCADIA UPDATE: Arcadia source says “too early to tell” the result of creditors vote. Group expects to announce whether #arcadia rescue deal has been approved around 4pm. #arcadialiveARCADIA UPDATE: Arcadia source says “too early to tell” the result of creditors vote. Group expects to announce whether #arcadia rescue deal has been approved around 4pm. #arcadialive
Some food has arrived for the vote counters.....Some food has arrived for the vote counters.....
ARCADIA UPDATE: Are the vote counters getting hungry? Supplies going in as last creditors leave. #arcadia #arcadialive pic.twitter.com/kMNmkKZONuARCADIA UPDATE: Are the vote counters getting hungry? Supplies going in as last creditors leave. #arcadia #arcadialive pic.twitter.com/kMNmkKZONu
Retail analyst Patrick O’Brien has put his finger on Arcadia’s fundamental problem -- Sir Philip Green is no longer King of the High Street, and his prize assets now look tarnished.Retail analyst Patrick O’Brien has put his finger on Arcadia’s fundamental problem -- Sir Philip Green is no longer King of the High Street, and his prize assets now look tarnished.
If CVA gets through, the challenge for Arcadia to reverse decline is huge given its performance over last ten years. Every one of their brands has lost market share over last 10 years, with the exception of Outfit. pic.twitter.com/3P9Se5m1DtIf CVA gets through, the challenge for Arcadia to reverse decline is huge given its performance over last ten years. Every one of their brands has lost market share over last 10 years, with the exception of Outfit. pic.twitter.com/3P9Se5m1Dt
...and the 'jewel in the Arcadia crown', Topshop, isn't so sparkling pic.twitter.com/pkC8aTdD9O...and the 'jewel in the Arcadia crown', Topshop, isn't so sparkling pic.twitter.com/pkC8aTdD9O
Oliver Buhus from Paragon Clothing, one of Arcadia’s suppliers, is angry with Arcadia’s landlords for not giving the company more support.Oliver Buhus from Paragon Clothing, one of Arcadia’s suppliers, is angry with Arcadia’s landlords for not giving the company more support.
Sky News’s Tom Boadle has the details from outside today’s creditors meeting:Sky News’s Tom Boadle has the details from outside today’s creditors meeting:
Buhus tells us: “The landlords are ruthless and self serving and it’s a shame there’s no spirit of community bearing in mind #Arcadia has been an excellent tenant for many years.“There is no sense of taking an initiative to resolve collectively... It’s not the best atmosphere”.Buhus tells us: “The landlords are ruthless and self serving and it’s a shame there’s no spirit of community bearing in mind #Arcadia has been an excellent tenant for many years.“There is no sense of taking an initiative to resolve collectively... It’s not the best atmosphere”.
The fact that today’s vote is taking place at all may suggest Sir Philip Green thinks he’s won enough landlords round (he needs 75% support).The fact that today’s vote is taking place at all may suggest Sir Philip Green thinks he’s won enough landlords round (he needs 75% support).
But creditors leaving the meeting tell us that the result is still up in the air....But creditors leaving the meeting tell us that the result is still up in the air....
Creditor who was in #arcadiacva meeting says almost impossible to tell how vote will go..Creditor who was in #arcadiacva meeting says almost impossible to tell how vote will go..
Voting is now underway, to decide the fate of one of Britain’s biggest retail groups.Voting is now underway, to decide the fate of one of Britain’s biggest retail groups.
Arcadia landlords are already leaving the meeting near St Paul’s, so we may hear from them soon.....Arcadia landlords are already leaving the meeting near St Paul’s, so we may hear from them soon.....
Creditors heading out from Arcadia meeting as votes being counted.. result expected with next couple of hours..Creditors heading out from Arcadia meeting as votes being counted.. result expected with next couple of hours..
Arcadia presentation is over and votes are being counted...still on a knife edge. #arcadiacvaArcadia presentation is over and votes are being counted...still on a knife edge. #arcadiacva
The Arcadia meeting is having a short presentation about updates to the CVA and then there will be a vote - the results of which are expected by about 15.00 - possibly later.The Arcadia meeting is having a short presentation about updates to the CVA and then there will be a vote - the results of which are expected by about 15.00 - possibly later.
One clothing and fabric supplier attending the meeting said he was hoping the CVA would pass. “It wouldn’t be good for our business (if it doesn’t),” he said.One clothing and fabric supplier attending the meeting said he was hoping the CVA would pass. “It wouldn’t be good for our business (if it doesn’t),” he said.
Gerry Matthews of Eternal Design Studio, a clothing supplier, said he was “very much in favour of [the CVA] going through.Gerry Matthews of Eternal Design Studio, a clothing supplier, said he was “very much in favour of [the CVA] going through.
But he admitted it was not clear how the vote would play out after Philip Green’s last minute improvement on his offer to landlords.But he admitted it was not clear how the vote would play out after Philip Green’s last minute improvement on his offer to landlords.
“He probably plays poker quite well,” Matthews said.“He probably plays poker quite well,” Matthews said.
Even Arcadia’s own creditors don’t know how today’s vote will turn out, reports Property Week’s David Parsley.Even Arcadia’s own creditors don’t know how today’s vote will turn out, reports Property Week’s David Parsley.
ARCADIA UPDATE: If evidence were needed that no one seems to know which way today's vote will go I've just heard from one major #arcadia landlord that they have drafted two statements - one for if the rescue deal passes and one for if it doesn't. I want to read both. #arcadialiveARCADIA UPDATE: If evidence were needed that no one seems to know which way today's vote will go I've just heard from one major #arcadia landlord that they have drafted two statements - one for if the rescue deal passes and one for if it doesn't. I want to read both. #arcadialive
A quick reminder of what’s happening:A quick reminder of what’s happening:
Arcadia is presenting its creditors with seven Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVA). They cover all its high street brands brands - Topshop, Topman, Burton Menswear, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge and Wallis.Arcadia is presenting its creditors with seven Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVA). They cover all its high street brands brands - Topshop, Topman, Burton Menswear, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge and Wallis.
Arcadia says that every CVA must pass, otherwise the whole company could be placed into administration. That would threaten 18,000 jobs - although there is speculation that some brands could be saved, with others closing.Arcadia says that every CVA must pass, otherwise the whole company could be placed into administration. That would threaten 18,000 jobs - although there is speculation that some brands could be saved, with others closing.
Hearing from sources close to Arcadia that if one of the CVAs falls today, that might not spell the end for the whole group.Hearing from sources close to Arcadia that if one of the CVAs falls today, that might not spell the end for the whole group.
If that were the case, not sure there would be time for a final decision - as board would need to discuss contingencies further. Hope remains, obviously, that Arcadia can get all passed todayIf that were the case, not sure there would be time for a final decision - as board would need to discuss contingencies further. Hope remains, obviously, that Arcadia can get all passed today
The proposal would see around 50 of Arcadia’s 570 stores close, with rent cuts of 25%-50% on the rest.The proposal would see around 50 of Arcadia’s 570 stores close, with rent cuts of 25%-50% on the rest.
After the plan was rejected last week, Sir Philip Green sweetened the deal with extra money for landlords, and lower rent reductions.After the plan was rejected last week, Sir Philip Green sweetened the deal with extra money for landlords, and lower rent reductions.
That hasn’t persuaded one major landlord, Intu, who is expected to vote against the proposalThat hasn’t persuaded one major landlord, Intu, who is expected to vote against the proposal
Others are more positive - Crown Estates has said it will back the CVAOthers are more positive - Crown Estates has said it will back the CVA