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Laura Ashley Announces Intention To Appoint Administrators

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Further to the Company's announcement on 13 March 2020, the Company has continued to closely monitor the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and has reviewed its immediate cashflow forecasts. 

For the seven weeks up to 13th March, trading for the Laura Ashley business improved by 24% year-on-year and the directors were encouraged by this strong performance.  However, the COVID-19 outbreak has had an immediate and significant impact on trading, and ongoing developments indicate that this will be a sustained national situation.

Discussions with stakeholders have been ongoing and the directors are in advanced discussions for the provision of third-party debt funding.  However, based on the Company's revised cashflow forecasts and the increased uncertainty facing the Group, the Company expects that it will not be in a position to draw down additional funds from third party lenders in a timely manner sufficient to support working capital requirements. MUI Asia Limited has confirmed that it is unable to provide financial support in the required timeframe.

The directors of the Company, its key trading subsidiary (Laura Ashley Limited), Premier Home Logistics Limited, Laura Ashley Investments Limited, and Texplan Manufacturing Limited, have concluded that all available alternative options have been explored and therefore, in order to protect creditors, it is necessary to file a notice of intention to appoint administrators in respect of the Company and each of the named subsidiaries.  

Accordingly, the Company regrets to announce that the directors of the Company, and of the named subsidiaries, have today filed notices of intention to appoint Robert Lewis and Zelf Hussain as administrators. If administrators are appointed in respect of the Company, given the Group's creditor position, the Company is not certain whether there would be any surplus assets available to shareholders of the Company.

The Company has requested that its ordinary shares be suspended from premium listing segment of the Official List. Further announcements will be made in due course.

For the purposes of MAR and Article 2 of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/1055, this announcement is being made on behalf of the Company by Sagar Mavani, Chief Financial Officer.

Commentary from GlobalData

Following today’s news that Laura Ashley has filed for administration amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, Amy Higginbotham, Retail Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view:

“Laura Ashley blames recent poor trading (at least in part) to the Covid-19 outbreak, and though this has no doubt had a significant impact on its performance over the past week or so, the retailer has been struggling for a while.

“The brand has long been tired and has struggled to regain relevance in both its fashion and home divisions. Financially weak retailers, of which there are many, are likely to follow Laura Ashley into administration given the current crisis. Those retailing non-essential purchases that can easily be deferred will be particularly badly hit.”

Source : Laura Ashley Holdings

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17 March 2020

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