Comet owner OpCapita will be among the first in line for an estimated £60m that could be recovered from the collapsed electricals retailer which entered administration last week.
OpCapita, the private investment group that bought Comet for £2 less than a year ago, structured the deal to buy Comet from Kesa - now known as Darty - through a separate vehicle called Hailey Acquisitions. It was through this vehicle that Darty’s £50m dowry, £30m of investment by OpCapita and a £40m asset-backed lending facility went.
It is understood that Hailey was a secured creditor, ranking only after suppliers that still have ownership of their stock, any staff with arrears of wages and £600,000 set aside for ordinary creditors.
Comet is understood to have around £120m of stock within the business. However, it is thought that suppliers own about half of this.
Comet administrator Deloitte has also suspended the use of gift vouchers at the stores.
Deloitte, which is conducting an “urgent” search for a buyer for the 240-store retailer, said that vouchers could not currently be used, leaving some customers with more than £500 of unredeemable coupons.
Deloitte said: “The administrators are currently considering the position in relation to gift cards and gift vouchers and, at this stage, they cannot be used to pay for items. The administrators are reviewing this position urgently.”
The administrator made the statement on the electricals retailer’s website, which has returned after being offline last week with a statement on the administration, a list of stores and a question and answer section for customers.
On the site, Deloitte said shoppers who had already paid for an item that was due to be delivered would only receive the product if it was already in stock.
“Where the item for an existing order is not currently in stock, this delivery cannot now be made,” it said.