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New High Street casualty as Moorfields appointed jewellery chain Administrators

Unforgiving trading conditions on the UK high street have taken their toll on yet another old-established national retail chain. Stores forming part of the ‘HPJ’ and ‘Jewel Nation’ chains are affected after leading discount jewellers Gemstone Retail Limited and Gemstone Operations Limited were placed into Administration on 8 December 2011. Simon Thomas and Robert Pick, of Moorfields Corporate Recovery LLP, have been appointed as Joint Administrators. “It is regrettable to see familiar retail names fall victim to the current conditions”, said Joint Administrator Simon Thomas of Moorfields. “It appears every responsible step was taken to rationalise the business and protect jobs, but Moorfields’ priority now is to protect the interests of creditors by trading the business in Administration to realise its assets.” The stores will trade in this way throughout the Christmas period, allowing the value of the gift-oriented stock to be maximised. Turnover 10% below budget scuppers rescue plan 78 HPJ and Jewel Nation stores were purchased in February this year from previous Administrator KPMG by retail turnaround specialist Gordon Brothers Europe. Despite a restructure that included store closures, stock clearance sales and other cost saving measures and significant operational improvements, the businesses continued to experience financial difficulty with turnover 10% below budget. A Notice of Intention to Appoint an Administrator was filed on 17 November 2011, and a campaign set in motion to try to sell the business and assets as a going concern. Indicative offers were received for the business but final offers failed to promise creditors a better return than realisation of the assets, leading to the 8 December announcement. Moorfields still keen to find buyer “We are continuing to explore the possibility of a sale of the business and assets,” said Robert Pick of Moorfields. “The business may yet prove an opportunity for the right buyer.” Moorfields Corporate Recovery LLP is one of the UK's leading independent firms of restructuring and insolvency specialists. Interest in the assets of Gemstone Retail Limited and Gemstone Operations Limited, t/a HPJ and Jewel Nation, should be directed in the first instance to Suzanne Westney at or 0207 186 1143. For further enquiries regarding the content of this release please call Katie Smith on Tel: 0207 186 1143 or email

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Moorfields Appointed Administrators over large Property Portfolio in the South

Simon Thomas and Robert Pick of Moorfields Corporate Recovery LLP have been appointed Joint Administrators over a large property portfolio in the South East consisting of over 25 sites and more than 100 units. The substantial portfolio spread across South East London was developed by a large Group of Property Developers in the South East; The Black Ant Company Limited, TBAC Bleinheim Gardens Limited, Billsop Properties Limited and TBAC Investments Limited. The Group specialised in the purchase of land with an opportunity to add value through acquiring planning consents, this strategy was later expanded to include building out the acquired sites. The portfolio was very highly geared and had secured debt of c. £45m from 5 lenders. The group was unable to service the debt and was insolvent on both balance sheet and cashflow bases. Following the appointment of Moorfields Corporate Recovery we have dealt with numerous issues including securing and insuring the sites, taking control of the rental income, dealing with maintenance and health and safety issues with over 100 residential and commercial tenants to consider. Despite these issues we have now managed to stabilise the cashflow through control of the rental income and maximising this by letting vacant units. This has enabled us to concentrate on achieving sales and maximising the repayment of the principal lenders’ original investment. Any interested parties should contact Moorfields Corporate Recovery LLP on 0207 186 1144 for further details. Moorfields Corporate Recovery LLP is one of the UK's leading independent firms of restructuring and insolvency specialists.

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