Botanic Inns chain in administration

Published Tuesday, 07 May 2013
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Joint Administrators have been appointed to Botanic Inns Limited and its controlling company Kurkova Limited, which operate a large portfolio of pubs, restaurants and hotels.

The two companies have 16 outlets in their portfolio, including two hotels, Madison's in Belfast and Denvir's in Downpatrick and two Dr:nk off sales.

They run well-known bars in Belfast including The Botanic Inn, The Apartment, The King's Head, The Northern Whig and McHugh's.

Over 500 people are employed across the venues.

The administrators, John Hansen and Stuart Irwin of KPMG in Belfast, said their intention is for the venues to continue to trade as normal and it is "business as usual".

"The Joint Administrators are currently undertaking a review of the business and have spoken to management, the workforce and other key stakeholders in an effort to determine a successful outcome to the administrations, namely the survival of the business as a going concern," a statement said.

The Joint Administrators said they will be keeping management and employees informed of the progress of the administrations in the coming days.

They said they would not make any further comment until they have completed their review.

Colin Neill, chief executive of Pubs of Ulster said it was disappointing news.

"Botanic Inns is an iconic brand for the city of Belfast and right across Northern Ireland. It has always had the highest reputation and regarded as one of our Blue Chip companies and we must do all we can to help support it at this time," he said.

"We welcome the Administrators intention that the venues will continue to trade as normal and that regulars and visitors to the Botanic Inns pubs and bars should be reassured that they are opened for business.

"It is no secret that factors have accumulated over the past year which has made it a very tough trading environment right across the industry. The revenue reserves normally built up by publicans during the Christmas season have suffered in the current trading environment and the negative impact of the recent flag protests compounding the problems faced by the trade."

Mr Neill added that the number of pub licenses in Northern Ireland has decreased by over 200 since 2007, which he put down to several factors including the impact of supermarket pricing of alcohol.

"It is important to reiterate that the pub industry is a key economic driver and its health and vitality are crucial in the sustainability of the economy as a whole. It must be protected."

© UTV News
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12 Comments
Matt in Belfast wrote (344 days ago):
Not a shock at all. Going out now in town is just to expensive. 3 of use went into a decent bar in town last week and it was over £13 for 3 pints of Harp. Some bars are charging even more than that. We normally just stay at home now days.
Steffan in Belfast wrote (344 days ago):
Clarence no one mentioned the flag protest!! Flagpoles were mentioned as the poster was stating how our government officials are not concentrating on serious issues susch as our economy and instead are playing politics with trivial matters. I used to work for Botanic Inns and frequent some of their establishments so would be sorry to see them close. So many empty shop units in Belfast city centre is depressing to see and obviously this is another economic casualty. Wil there be a closing down sale? 50p pints etc??
Frosty in Here wrote (344 days ago):
@ Mr Neill, "It is important to reiterate that the pub industry is a key economic driver and its health and vitality are crucial in the sustainability of the economy as a whole. It must be protected." Why? Because money is the big carrot that keeps the donkeys going? Or is it the stick? In today's season of austerity, the little man is being told to sink or swim. He can only clutch at straws, whereas you have a license to drink and sell as much as you can.
S.B. in Belfast wrote (344 days ago):
I have to agree with a previous poster. The exorbitant price charged for food and drink in many places as well as some awful, rude bar & door staff have turned many people off a night out in Belfast City Centre. Yes the flags protests didn't help but I think a lot of people were turned off long before that anyway. I was recently turned away from a bar by two extremely ignorant doormen for wearing a T - Shirt, a T - Shirt that cost nearly £20. My group had a few quid to spend but that particular bar lost out on our custom and it's things like this that put people off. Furthermore charging £14/£15 for a piece of chicken or a pizza and over £20 for a steak is also ridiculous for a city like Belfast. The hospital industry hasn't woke up yet to the austerity most people are living under and need to bring their prices down if they want to survive. It's easier and far cheaper to get a few beers and a takeaway for a night in now without the hassle, rudeness and expense you have to endure in Belfast City Centre.
Madisons Party Animal in Belfast wrote (345 days ago):
Gutted about this!!! I go to Madisons every week and love it!!! Can't believe it will be no more!!! Its always packed every Saturday night and the nights amazing and staff fabulous. Surely there is something that can be done!! SAD TIMES!!! This is as bad as Fergie leaving Man U!!!!
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