Wyevale Garden Centre delayed accounts expected in a fortnight

Wyevale Garden Centre's accounts which were due on 30 September, should be filed by mid-November.

The up-for-sale group may not file before 109 centres are sold on, however.

Sales of around 35 centres have paid off immediate debts. Latest to sell is Old Barn. Old Barn has been sold to Tates of Sussex, which is believed to have outbid Longacres.

Wyevale said: "Wyevale Garden Centres confirm that the Old Barn Garden Centre has been sold to Tates of Sussex, an existing garden centre operator who will continue to run it as a garden centre. Old Barn Nursery was included in the sale and will be operated under license by WGC for a period of at least 12 months."

Old Barn, like the recent Dobbies purchase, Woodlands, had its nursery sold then returned to Wyevale as it has crops in it for 2019.

Woodcote Green, announced this week, sold to Dobbies as part of a six-centre deal that included Woodlands and Heighley Gate. The asking price of £35m for Woodcote Green was the highest for a single centre.

Accounts for 2017 are already delayed by more than a month. Wyevale's 2016 accounts showed a £122m loss. The accounts for 2017 are likely to have increased turnover on 2016's £325m. Trade is expected to have improved in 2018 and the sale of 35 centres, for a combined £100m plus has eased any immediate debt issues.

In the annual report for 2017 of holding company Trellis Investments, filed in October, auditors said the company’s risk of breaching loan covenants meant there was "material uncertainty that may cast significant doubt on the Group's ability to continue as a going concern". 

Reoprted operating loss was £60.4m (2016 £74.1m) and financing costs were £21m (£17.3m) meaning an £81.9m loss for the year. Turnover is listed at £335.8m. The report notes "uncertainty over the eaxct future developments of the Group". 

"There remains the risk that the sale may not be concluded in a manner that enables the Group to meet the financial covenants and manage liquidity to enable liabilities to be paid as they fall due".

A buyer is believed to be in the late stages of taking over the group, though it is not Alteri, as some sources have suggested. Alteri bid early in the process.

The 109 centres set to be sold by Wyevale owner Terra Firma could then be split between retail and developer bidders. The sale is due in the next fortnight and could be before the accounts are finally released.

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