Bonmarché to delay financial report as billionaire’s takeover moves forward

Wakefield-headquartered clothing retailer Bonmarché is to delay the publication of its annual report beyond the end of this month as the takeover of the firm moves forward.

And it is likely the company’s de-listing from the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange will happen before the report becomes public.

Earlier this month Spectre, the Dubai-based investment firm owned by billionaire Phillip Day, confirmed it had acquired Bonmarché after securing 93% of the struggling retailer’s –  triggering the de-listing announcement.

On 26 June 2019, Bonmarché reported that its auditor, PwC, had suggested it may include an emphasis of matter reference in its audit report for the company’s financial year ended 30 March 2019, due to uncertainty over going concern and over Spectre’s ultimate plans for the business.

PwC this afternoon (19 July) indicated that it has not had enough time to reach a conclusion on these and other matters, in order to complete the internal processes necessary to sign off the report and accounts by 31 July 2019. This is being the date by which Bonmarché was to publish its annual financial report under the Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules.

Bonmarché said: Bonmarché announces that the publication of the Group’s annual financial report for the period ended 30 March 2019 will be delayed beyond 31 July 2019 and, as such, the company will be requesting the suspension of trading in the company’s shares with effect from 7am on 1 August 2019.

“Furthermore, it is anticipated that the cancellation of Bonmarché’s listing will occur before the annual report is made public. Accordingly, the company’s shares are not expected to resume trading after the suspension takes effect.”

Listed Bonmarché has over 300 stores and concessions across the UK and was admitted to AIM in November 2013, moving to a Main Market listing in October 2015.

Spectre first announced its hostile takeover of Bonmarché in April, when it acquired 52% company shares for £3m.

Under takeover rules, it then had to make mandatory offer for the remainder of the company and did so for £2.73m – totalling £5.7m for the troubled retailer.

Bonmarché resisted the full takeover offer, but the firm last month changed its stance, after reporting poor first quarter trading.

Day is the owner of The Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Peacocks, Proquip, Austin Reed, Country Casuals, Jaeger and Jacque Vert brands.

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