RoyaleLife told a judge Wednesday that it is seeking to appoint administrators to one of its key subsidiaries, as the UK bungalow owner grapples with around £1.5 billion ($1.9 billion) of debt.
(Bloomberg) — RoyaleLife told a judge Wednesday that it is seeking to appoint administrators to one of its key subsidiaries, as the UK bungalow owner grapples with around £1.5 billion ($1.9 billion) of debt.
A lawyer acting for Time GB Group Limited told London’s high court that it will apply for an administration order and has approached insolvency practitioners from FRP Advisory.
Time GB Group is facing a winding-up petition that was filed by a company called Yarwell Mill Country Park Limited in May, according to public filings. A winding-up petition is a request from creditors to have a company shuttered. Managers often seek to appoint administrators to protect it from creditors.
The debt Yarwell Mill is seeking to recover relates to transactions between RoyaleLife’s owner Robert Bull and a businessman that has been linked by Irish law enforcement to a criminal organization.
Read more: Alleged Gangster Sends Bungalow Billionaire Into Insolvency Spat
The winding-up petition is just one of a host of sustained creditor pressures the company is facing. A number of its creditors have already placed the units they hold security over into administration. The bungalow provider is made up of more than 200 legal entities, with many of them having charges registered against them by lenders.
Time GB Group has outstanding charges from units of US real estate investment trust Sun Communities Inc. and Intermediate Capital Group Plc, while other lenders to RoyaleLife include Avenue Capital, Roundshield Partners LLP and Octopus Investments Ltd.
A spokesperson for RoyaleLife did not immediately comment, while a spokesman for FRP declined to comment.
RoyaleLife owns and operates mobile home parks, used either for holidays or as a permanent residence for the over-45s. The company has struggled since the pandemic, hit by a slowdown in sales and delays in the granting of new planning permissions. The firm has been in discussions about a refinancing of the whole group, according to a court filing.
The winding-up petition by Yarwell Mill was subject to court action by RoyaleLife earlier this year, with lawyers for the group asking a judge to strike out the application. In a witness statement, Bull argued that the presentation of a petition could cost RoyaleLife customers and lead to other creditors applying pressure on the firm. The judge dismissed the attempt to have the petition struck out, noting that Time GB Group appeared to be “hopelessly insolvent”.
Yarwell Mill’s petition stems from transactions between Bull’s companies and Fred Doe, a businessman that recently changed his name from Maurice Sines. A company called Sines Parks Holdings Limited, of which Doe is a director and majority owner, applied to put several RoyaleLife units into administration in May.
Doe’s application was unsuccessful but led other creditors, including ICG, to take action against RoyaleLife. An Irish police officer testifying on behalf of the country’s Criminal Assets Bureau named Doe as part of the British arm of a crime group affiliated with the notorious Irish Kinahan gang, according to a High Court judgment in 2018.
–With assistance from Irene García Pérez.
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