Uvine: payment for creditors in doubt?

  • Friday 9 November 2007

There are growing doubts as to whether creditors of collapsed wine broker Uvine will ever get paid.

The new owner of the fund, Marqem Ltd, is due to make the first payment to creditors on 30 April 2008, as part of an undertaking to pay 80% of Uvine’s debts back by September 2010.

The company has announced on uvine.com that the ‘trading platform will be back online in November.’

However, doubts are growing over whether the platform will indeed be relaunched and whether Marqem will fulfil its obligations. The relaunch date has already slipped twice, from September, and then from October.

Earlier this year Marqem bought Uvine's goodwill, intellectual property rights and customer database for £117.50, agreeing a schedule of payments to Uvine creditors.

The agreement is backed by promissory notes from Marqem’s parent company – BTP Ltd. Both companies are currently in breach of UK company law as they have failed to file their latest annual returns. Bob Roche, a Canadian businessman who heads Marqem and BTP has been unavailable for comment.

Graham Wolloff, the administrator, said, ‘To further enhance the prospect of Marqem Ltd paying the funds, we tied in the parent, BTP Ltd. What we were not able to negotiate was to tie in other guarantors to provide a third level of comfort. It is therefore the case that if both Marqem and BTP were to fail, with no funds for creditors, then the Uvine claimants would be back in the position they were before with a claim worth nothing.”

There is some better news for creditors as uvine’s former directors have paid £450,000 to the administrator for distribution to the creditors. A number of unresolved disputes have so far delayed payment but Wolloff hopes that the first dividend can be paid to creditors before Christmas.

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