First in the NTI newsroom office after a nippy weekend gets to open the doors of our Administrations advent calendar, including those left unopened from Saturday and Sunday.
"Teneo!" came the cry.
"Oh, and Teneo."
It is going to be a big festive season for the gang at, that's right, Teneo whose Christmas shopping may get left undone. Their website says: "Teneo’s expert team brings decades of experience in establishing and delivering contingency plans and insolvencies across multiple jurisdictions ..." It doesn't say, "Oh, and we will have all the Administrations, thank you" - but that is what has happened recently.
First up is a doozy. VTB Capital, the British unit of state-owned Russian bank VTB, Russia's second-largest bank, was placed in Administration last week. Stephen Browne and David Soden are in charge and will be using sanctions licences to realise frozen assets of the unit, Teneo said, adding that this would enable repayment to non-sanctioned creditors.
It has been a while coming; a court sanctioned that the unit be placed in Administration in April of this year, subject to the sanctions licences being obtained, after judging the unit was left unable to operate due to western sanctions on VTB after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Anyone left in the Teneo building, having not been picked for the above, may have been appointed in the Administration of M&Co, the fashion and homeware chain, which has 170 stores across the UK. The aim of the restructuring intervention, in a twist on paragraph 3 of Schedule B1, is to pursue a sale “in an accelerated timeframe”. Gavin Park, a senior managing director at Teneo told us that: “Like many retailers, the company has experienced a sharp rise in its input costs, which has coincided with a decline in consumer confidence leading to trading challenges.” Gavin didn't say that he was a bit miffed at not getting on the team running a unit of a sexy Russian sanctions-buster, but this job should surely secure him a role of 'VERY Senior Managing Director', whilst waiting for the 'big one': MOST Senior Managing Director'.
M&Co, who have 2,000 people waiting nervously in the wings for Gavin's words of comfort, entered a pre-pack in summer 2020 as it struggled with trading during the Covid-19 pandemic. They have suffered from the common retail malaise of rising costs and loss in demand. Gone are the days when their doors would burst open, pushed by people wanting a pair of apricot coloured slacks. If last year's purple ones will do Tiny Tim may still be able to have his pig in a blanket on the 25th.