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First Quench hangs on the edge

First Quench Retailing is considering emergency restructuring as the threat of administration looms.

The drinks chain, which owns high-street off-licences Threshers and Wine Rack, is said to be consulting financial advisor KPMG to discuss possible insolvency options as it fights to save 6000 jobs.

Reports suggest the company would be looking for a ‘pre-pack administration’ – whereby a pre-arranged sale of First Quench’s assets would see the company rise out of administration almost immediately.

In a statement, the company said ‘the board of First Quench Retailing notes recent media speculation about the future of the company.

‘It is no secret that the credit crunch has made a very competitive marketplace even more challenging.

‘The board, in consultation with its advisers, has been actively considering a number of restructuring and strategic options and any decision will be made in the best interests of the business and its stakeholders.’

In January, First Quench hit the headlines when it announced that 400 branches of Threshers, Wine Rack and The Local off licence chains faced closure as the company re-evaluated its portfolio.

First Quench is majority owned by Vision Capital, a London-based investment firm, who earlier this month injected £20m into the company to expedite its ‘transformation programme’.

Employees are awaiting a further announcement, expected to be made on Friday.

First Quench Retailing offered no further comment.

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Written by John Abbott

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