Royal Bank of Scotland pulls plug on Peacocks

Kasmira Jefford
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PEACOCKS, the fashion retail chain, is teetering on the brink of administration after Royal Bank of Scotland, one of its senior lenders, pulled the plug on talks to refinance the company.

A syndicate of 18 lenders, including Barclays, Goldman Sachs and hedge funds including Och Ziff and Perry Capital, had jointly been working on a proposal to save the beleaguered retailer after failing to find a trade buyer, City A.M understands.

However, talks over the weekend collapsed in acrimony, after the state-owned bank, together with some of the other lenders, decided against putting more debt into the business.

A spokesperson for RBS, which holds around £16m of Peacock’s £240m debt, said the bank had been supportive of the company but “new investors willing to inject sufficient capital could not be found”.

Meanwhile Barclays said “it has been willing to support the management in the restructuring of the business”.

Peacocks, which runs 608 stores across the UK with 8,900 staff, has lined up KPMG as its administrators.

The clothes retailer, chaired by former Asda boss Allan Leighton, was taken private by chief executive Richard Kirk and hedge fund backers in 2006. It put itself up for sale last year for around £600m, but pulled the auction after offers fell short of price expectations. The firm is also expected to announce the sale of its Bonmarché chain to Sun European Capital this week.