Investment consortium Celine to retain ownership of Debenhams

Debenhams store closures
// Debenhams sale fails to secure bids “at level required”
// Investment consortium Celine said it will remain as the owner

The consortium of investors that now own Debenhams has confirmed they will retain ownership after it completed the marketing process to try and sell the retailer following its administration.

The consortium, known as Celine, said the bids received during the marketing process were not at the level required to be taken forward, which means Celine will remain as the owner of Debenhams.

“The investor consortium is a committed long-term owner, which has provided Debenhams with £200 million in fresh funding for the financial restructuring process and to fund the company’s operating turnaround,” Celine chief revenue officer Stefaan Vansteenkiste said.

“Within the consortium, there is extensive turnaround experience, which we will deploy to support the management’s plan and to position Debenhams for a long-term successful future.”

Debenhams executive chairman Terry Duddy said: “I am pleased that our new owners have confirmed their commitment to Debenhams and remain supportive of our plans to restructure the business.

“We are confident that we will receive support for our CVA proposals, which make sense for all parties, and will give us the platform to deliver a turnaround.”

The news comes after Debenhams recently launched a CVA, which includes plans to close 22 of its underperforming stores as early as next year, and a further 105 stores for rent reductions.

The store closures place 1200 jobs under threat.

The CVA came after the department store last month appointed administrators who immediately sold the PLC part of Debenhams to a newly-incorporated company controlled by the consortium, which named itself Celine.

This was done in a pre-pack administration deal in return for reducing the retailer’s £600 million debt.

Celine have confirmed the major restructure via a CVA insolvency process, which will eventually see it close 50 of its worst performing stores.

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