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Wed 30th Jan 2013 - Breaking News - Luminar owners pays £6m final installment
New Luminar owner pays £6m final installment early: The new owner of nightclub company Luminar made the payment of a final large installment of £6m to buy the company out of administration early. The payment to Ernst & Young was due on 31 December 2012 – but Morning Briefing understands the payment was made ten days or so early. Luminar was sold for £33.9m in December 2011 with £15.9m paid on completion. It was agreed that £14.2m was to be paid on a deferred basis with £2.2m being paid in monthly installments of circa £240,000 per month ending in September last year – and £6.9m of deferred payment during 2012, adding up to a total of £8.2m. The final £6m was the last large payment due. A further £3.7m of the sale price is contingent on the successful assignment of 46 leasehold premises, of which 15 assignments have been agreed when Ernst & Young reported at the start of last month. Meanwhile, Luminar is to occupy three floors of a planed eight-storey redevelopment of the Casino nightclub in Guildford. Architects’ plans reveal that the rebuilt Casino nightclub at the Quadrant in Onslow Street could contain up to eight floors of bars. The new building has been designed by Tom Wright, the man behind the Burj Al Arab sail-shaped hotel in Dubai. “It will be exciting,” said Harper. “It will be something new happening in Guildford when not a lot has been happening. We’re also looking at maybe getting the building sponsored like they do with football stadiums because it’s very dynamic – a work of art.” The design features five floors above ground that would be used for drinks and entertainment, and three lower floors. There could be up to 12 bars, as well as dance floors, stages and outdoor smoking balconies.

Propel Opinion by Paul Charity: The UK’s largest nightclub business appears to have had a strong year since it was bought out of administration by an industry consortium led by Peter Marks in December 2011. The company, which received 200 expressions of interest when it was in administration, has been investing in sites (some had gone eight years without a refurbishment) with a pragmatic approach, de-branding venues such as its Crawley site where a fresh start is appropriate. The company, now operating 56 sites, is also known to have made real progress at a number of its under-performing sites such as Swansea Oceania. What is also clear now is that the new owners paid a very sensible price to acquire Luminar. The freehold property within the portfolio – 15 sites – was valued at £32m when it launched a sale and leaseback through Colliers International last March. It is not known precisely how many freeholds have been sold and leased back although its flagship Oceania in Kingston was subject to a £7.5m transaction at the start of October last year. Marks, who was formerly chief executive at Brook Leisure and Sports Café, has also impressed in his first year as chief executive of Luminar with an open and accessible approach to stakeholders. The nightclub business is not without its challenges, as witnessed by the current licence revocation pending at its Kingston site. Nevertheless, the payment of the last large sum outstanding to the administrator – and the willingness to take on sites like the Guildford mentioned in the story above - is an indication that the company’s new owners are confident about its future. 

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