Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Friday, 1 February 2013

Mrs Kathryn Baile to buy the assets of Simon Baile's ExCellar Ltd?

Administrator Stephen Hunt on Linkedin: Insolvency, Litigation, Forensics

On 4th October 2012 a new company called Baileco Ltd was formed with 42 year-old Kathryn Baile as the sole director with a registered office at 145-157 St John Street, London EC1 – a well known accommodation address. On 14th November 2012 the company changed its name to Prebinvest Ltd. From a filing with Companies House on 4th December 2012 Prebinvest Ltd had a declared capital of £18,158.  

Jim's Loire understands that Prebinvest Ltd has lodged with Stephen Hunt of Griffins, the newly appointed administrator, a bid for £75,000 for the assets of ExCellar Ltd. The bid was apparently submitted soon after the administration order was made by a solicitor with the assurance that it represented the true value of the company's assets.

In December 2012 Baile told OLN: “Excellar will still be a family-owned business, it always will be." OLN 14.12.2012.

I assume that Stephen Hunt will use his forensic skills to establish the events that led up to ExCellar Ltd going into administration. Whether Prebinvest was formed specifically last October to take over the assets of the failing ExCellar Ltd or whether it was set up for some other purpose. From filings at Companies House no details were supplied as to the nature of the new company's business.  Was Simon Baile, as the sole director, aware that ExCellar would be unlikely to be able to pay for any orders placed in the latter half of 2012? This would include a substantial order of Champagne. Also w
hether any of the £75,000 bid by Prebinvest Ltd has come from ExCellar Ltd? But I'm sure Mr Hunt knows better than I do the questions that should and need to be asked. 

From Linkedin Stephen Hunt's specialities: 'Fraud investigation, and investigation of claims against professionals for fraud or negligence, including Licensed Insolvency Practitioners. Complex insolvency situations and rescue. International Insolvency.' 


Leon Stolarski said...

Great work, Jim. There is clearly some very fishy stuff going on here, and given the contents of this and your previous post, perhaps it is time for a Police investigation.......

Jim's Loire said...

Many thanks Leon. I think the first requirement is for the administrator to ensure that he and his team do a proper job. The bid from Prebinvest Ltd should be blocked at the very least until the circumstances leading up to ExCellars going into administration have been thoroughly investigated.

If there are other bids that have merit then one of these should be accepted. Creditors, like Caves de Pyrene and ABS both in for around £100,000 are not going to see much of the offer of £75,000 by the time administration fees have been paid. Not to mention what is owed in France to the French Government and to French suppliers.

Leon Stolarski said...

But who in their right mind would bid for the assets of a company like ExCellars? I know the law probably sees it differently, but who would want to dirty their hands with what is little more than "ill-gained" stock (there is a more apt word, but I'd better not use it).

I've seen it mentioned elsewhere that this situation is a repeat of the Oddbins fiasco, whereby stock from that failed operation was alleged to have found its way onto the shelves of ExCellars.

It begs the question; at what point do shady goings-on become criminal activity? And all under the noses of the Administrator and the Police, it would seem.

Incidentally (and I'm not sure where to look, since the Oddbins CVA is no longer available on the Deloitte website) I wonder if any of ExCellars' current suppliers/creditors were stung in the Oddbins fiasco? If they were, then it would be hard to sympathise. And even if not, the words "due diligence" spring to mind. I guess in business, a sale is a sale is a sale...... but only if you get paid for it.

Feel free to edit or not publish, if you feel I am overstepping the mark, but as an honest wine merchant myself (as of course are most in the trade) this situation makes me so angry.

Tim Carlisle said...

Hi Jim,

Do you happen to have a link to a list of creditors anywhere?

Jim's Loire said...

Tim. Sorry I haven't got a link to the list of creditors. Jim