Debts at bankrupt UK wine merchant En Primeur Ltd are higher than originally thought and there are concerns over apparent gaps in the firm’s stocks.
2013 en primeur wines ready for tasting in Bordeaux. En primeur Ltd’s woes began after it failed to secure en primeur wines from the 2008 vintage.
En Primeur Ltd‘s creditors are owed more than £1.8m, liquidator Nedim Ailyan of Abbott Fielding found after examining the firm’s books. Even if assets were sold to help pay back money owed, the firm would still have a deficit of around £1.7m, Abbott Fielding found.
According to Marco Correia, the company’s sole director and major shareholder, En Primeur Ltd’s problems started in 2011 when one of its suppliers was unable to deliver the 2008 vintage en primeur wines ordered.
The company was forced to find replacements at the height of the Bordeaux boom. Cases that had been sold to customers for £1,600 each had appreciated to £15,000.
Between 30 September 2012 and 16 July 2014, En Primeur Ltd recorded trading losses of £1.35m.
Correia estimated En Primeur Ltd’s wine assets at £223,495. However, Edward Symmons, property and asset consultancy, valued the stock £150,609.
Some of the company’s wine stocks are in France and will not be released until a £51,000 bill has been settled.
The firm’s overall deficit may yet rise further.
Decanter.com understands there are discrepancies between what customers thought should be in their En Primeur Ltd reserve account at London City Bond and what is physically there now. The reserve accounts do not form part of En Primeur’s assets.
One customer told Decanter.com that he has only eight cases in his En Primeur Ltd reserve account instead of 20, which he said should have included some Bordeaux first growths. It was not clear what has happened to these wines.
Written by Jim Budd