A north Lancashire-based business which owned a number of pubs and a hotel in the local area has collapsed into administration, following many years of financial hardship. Provincial Hotels & Inns Limited was responsible for running some of the area’s popular drinking and dining establishments, but as is the case with many pubs and restaurants, it simply could not thrive in the current climate.
Last orders in Lancashire
Pubs and restaurants have been in a position to open their doors to the public, albeit in a limited sense, since 17th May, as part of the government-mandated easing of lockdown measures. However, such moves may have come too little too late for the likes of Provincial Hotels & Inns. Patrick Lannagan and Julien Irving have been appointed as joint administrators for the business from Mazars LLP.
Incorporated in 2013, the business owns pubs including Yorkshire Taps in Lancaster as well as a hotel-brasserie, The County Lodge and Brasserie in Carnforth. Records from Companies House suggest the business accounts were overdue, having been made up to 31st May 2019. The accounts up until 29th May 2020, just as the pandemic lockdown had begun, remain absent for over a month now.
A lack of up-to-date financial records including accounts with Companies House are often a good indication of a sign of businesses in distress, and results in a small fine being issued, which gets bigger if the business continually fails to hand over fresh accounts as requested.
Signs of trouble in accounts
Provincial Hotels & Inns Limited had a consistently rocky financial history in the year before the pandemic, according to the last available accounts at Companies House. It recorded net liabilities to creditors to the tune of between £600,000-£700,000 in two consecutive financial years.
While the figures for the lockdown period remain elusive, they are likely to have been further in the red for the business, and it’s easy to see why: pubs and restaurants have been struggling to restore cashflow due to a stop-and-start economic model due to intermittent lockdowns and easings. The ups and downs of the pandemic have directly hit the bottom lines of businesses in the hospitality sector.
Recent re-openings with some restrictions in place are simply insufficient for such businesses to recoup the losses of the last year – pints left unclaimed and meals never consumed. However, local support from customers old and new in the north Lancashire area gives prospective buyers hope that demand for the services Provincial Hotels & Inns used to provide could be solid for future owners as restrictions are eased in full.