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Mon 28th Jan 2013 - Breaking News - Sarumdale and Living Ventures
Sarumdale administrator reports possible interest rate mis-selling claim against Barclays
Living Ventures looks to raise £750,000 through individual investors

Sarumdale administrator reports “potential claim against Barclays” over interest rate swap mis-selling; FSA to report on interest rate swaps this week: Administrator Begbies Traynor has reported that there is a potential interest rate mis-selling claim against Barclays Bank in respect of multi-site pub company Sarumdale, which owed the bank £6.9m when it was placed in administration last year. Former Sarumdale directors Rodney Hall and Mike Lloyd claim the company was the victim of interest rate swap mis-selling that meant Sarumdale was paying £300,000 a year in interest and £400,000 in capital repayments from 2008 onwards after it applied for a £6.1m consolidation and expansion loan from Barclays. Lloyd told The Mail on Sunday yesterday: “We were told that interest rates only go one way and that taking a ten-year hedging product would protect us. We trusted our bank manager. Yet in reality they played on our fears to sell us a hugely expensive product that they marketed as cost-free. The cost of exiting the swap was never explained.” In a report filed last week at Companies House, Begbies Traynor reported that a claim against Barclays is being actioned through a law firm with “input from the directors forthcoming”. It added: “At this juncture, given the commercial sensitivity of releasing information into the public domain prior to a potential legal process, the administrators are unable to provide any further information.” Begbies Traynor reported that the Sarumdale estate, being traded by Convivial Management Services on a fee of £1,800 per pub per month during the administration, made a profit of £181,159 between June and December last year - £2.13m has been raised from the sale of four pubs so far. Meanwhile, the Financial Services Authority is set to make a statement this week on the mis-selling scandal that could lead to an estimated 40,000 companies launching claims against banks. Banks have so far set aside £720m to cover compensation claims but this is expected to increase dramatically. Barclays, for example, is rumoured to be preparing to make another £1.1bn provision on top of the £450m already set aside.

Living Ventures looks to raise £750,000 from investors through EIS scheme: Restaurant and bar group Living Ventures is looking to attract individual investors to buy a stake in a £2.5m fine dining venue. Managing director Tim Bacon said the group is looking to raise £750,000 and is offering a 30% shareholding in its Manchester House Restaurant and Lounge Bar, which is due to open in Spinningfields in June. The company is offering 30 investors or “member partners” from the Manchester area to take a one% stake for £25,000 as part of an Enterprise Investment Scheme. In return, shareholders will receive a yearly yield on their investment and a dividend. They will get access to priority bookings as well as a monthly expense account. Living Venture has partnered with Aiden Byrne, the youngest chef to win a Michelin Star in the UK, for the new venture. The new venue will be based at Tower 12, Avenue North, Spinningfields. It will feature a second-floor restaurant and a 12th floor Sky Lounge. Bacon said: “This is a different kind of fundraising exercise and an alternative to approaching the banks. We want to bring in a mix of investors whom we want to be part of the business. A lot of people want to own a restaurant or be part of the restaurant trade, and this gives them the opportunity to do just that. We want Manchester people on board, who will come in, use the facilities, host parties and enjoy being part of it. We’ve had a lot of interest in it already but I really want to mix it up and am keen to get female shareholders on board.” Living Ventures is set to turnover 45m for its current financial year, which ends on March 31, and is targeting revenues of £50m for 2013. Christmas sales rose 14% on the previous year, aided by new opening that included a second Alchemist on New York Street, Manchester, and The Botanist, in Alderley Edge. Living Ventures also wants to open Artisan, a pizza restaurant, which will also be in Manchester House, and the group is expanding the Australasia bar to create the Grand Pacific Bar and Garden. It is investing a total of £6m during 2013.

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