Maplin in “crunch talks” to find new buyer

Maplin sale

Reports have emerged that Maplin is in “crunch talks” with potential buyers as it races to secure a new owner to guarantee the future of its 2500 employees.

The parent company of the electricals chain, Rutland Partners, appointed PwC in January to review Maplin’s options after it identified cost savings and contacted landlords for better rent terms.

The retailer is reportedly confident in being able to secure a sale, although no deal has been agreed as of yet.

Maplin is also mulling the option of a pre-pack sale and bracing itself for the possibility of having to go into administration.

One of the potential suitors is thought to be Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group, which has been expanding rapidly in recent months through the acquisitions of troubled high street chains.

“We are in advanced talks with a number of parties and expect to be in a position to announce a solvent sale of the business within days,” a Maplin spokesman said.

“Once secured this will stabilise the business to the benefit of all stakeholders and provide Maplin with the financial firepower to deliver its 2020 multichannel strategy focused on smart tech.”

The news comes after Maplin’s credit insurers slashed their exposure amid widening losses back in November.

This made it difficult for Maplin’s suppliers to insure their debts, causing stock shortages.

However, Maplin said at the time that it had “sufficient headroom” to navigate a tough trading environment.

Meanwhile, according to accounts filed at Companies House, Maplin recorded a pre-tax loss of £3.9 million for the year ending March 31, 2017, up from £2.1 million in the year prior.

EBITDA also came in at £8.9 million, down from £12.7 million the year before.

While the retailer conceded that 2016/17 was a “transformational and challenging year”, it stressed that progress was being made on its three-year 2020 Vision Strategy, which includes the rollout of a new brand identity and store concept.

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