Wednesday, 26 June 2013

And this is legal?

Owed £5 million by Cains
Cains Brewery is no more: the liquidators have been called in after it was wound up with debts of around £8 million, consisting of £5 million for excise duty, VAT and PAYE and £3 million to 44 other creditors. This development won't surprise anyone who has been following Cains' declining business this year, which I've written about as recently as last month. I said then that "Managing director Sudarghara Dusanj told them [staff he'd made redundant] to apply to the government’s Redundancy Payment Scheme, but this usually only pays redundant workers when a company has actually failed." Since then, as certain as night follows day, this company has failed. The BBC has more details here, with quite a good short video clip from North West Tonight in which Sudarghara Dusanj tries to claim that the relationship between his management team and the workforce was good. This doubtless explains why their workforce found out they no longer had jobs by phone call, text or even by reading it in the Liverpool Echo, and why they will be getting no redundancy payments from the company, not even those with long service.

The brewery and land are leased from a different company, which is also owned by the Dusanj brothers who hope to redevelop the buildings and site into a brewery village: they intend to restore the original Grade II listed building to house a craft brewery, a hotel, digital studios, a delicatessen-type food hall,  independent shops, a sky bar on the roof, and a supermarket with flats above. I'll believe it all when I see it. 

Two bankruptcies in five years is not a good record, but in both cases the material assets were safely allocated to a separate company that put them safely beyond the reach of the liquidators, so don't expect to see the brothers turning up at Toxteth jobcentre in the near future. In their wake they leave a sacked workforce, a discredited brewing name and a lot of creditors out of pocket, some of them small businesses.

There is around £100,000 worth of beer in vats in the brewery that will have to be destroyed; now that the workforce has been sacked, I suppose there's no one to finish it off and sell it. They are, apparently, negotiating a deal to have Cains beers brewed elsewhere under licence but, as I've asked a couple of times recently, with the decline in quality in recent years, will anyone be interested? 

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