News - North West

Big wheel business debts revealed

The business that operates the big wheels in Manchester and Liverpool collapsed owing unsecured creditors £8.9m, a new report has revealed. Manchester City Council is owed more than £110,000.

WTA Global Holdings, which traded as World Tourist Attractions, went into administration on 23 December. The business operated five wheels, all subject to finance agreements, located in Manchester, Liverpool, Weston Super-Mare, Dublin and Hyde Park in London.

A report to creditors by John Kelly and Nigel Price, partners in the Birmingham office of corporate recovery specialist Begbies Traynor, show that WTA Global Holdings hit financial difficulties due to the seasonal nature of revenue streams.

A number of its wheels struggled to meet their financial commitments during “off peak” months, while others were not as profitable as initially predicted.

The pressure on cashflow culminated in two creditors, Sheffield City Council and HM Revenue & Customs, threatening to issue winding up orders for non-payment of debts amounting to £950,000. As a result, a first notice of intention to appoint an administrator was filed on 29 September, while additional finance was sought.

Although sole director Elliot Hall had entered into negotiations with a number of parties, and had agreed a company voluntary arrangement that would have delivered a projected return to creditors of 40 pence in the pound over a five-year term, HMRC did not support the plans.

A pre-pack sale was later completed to Hall for £230,000, safeguarding 85 jobs. The report reveals that the company’s debts were £16.4m when it collapsed.

One of the former directors, Jonathan Shipley, was owed £1.5m as a secured creditor and has so far received £60,000.

The report from Begbies Traynor said there would be a return to unsecured creditors although the anticipated dividend is not known at this stage.

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