Life’s not a picnic for team members at Duff & Phelps and PwC this weekend. No sooner had they laid out the rug, passed round the sausage rolls and poured the elderflower lemonade than they had to start packing it all back into the Discovery when rescue phones rang calling them back to deal with emergencies.
Over at PwC Racheal Wilkinson and Rob Lewis (who are finger food sort of picnickers) have been appointed joint Administrators of Nationwide Accident Repair Services and several of its subsidiaries. Leaving in the opposite direction their friends from Duff & Phelps headed towards Busaba in London, which has 13 Thai restaurants and 350 staff. They are intending to thrash out a Company Voluntary Arrangement, and are looking to cut rents rather than quiche this Sunday morning (6 September).
Nationwide is a Whitney-based business operating a network of garages around the country, assisting the accident repair market for many of the UK’s largest insurance firms. In a none too similar way, Busaba is a restaurant chain based on traditional Buddhist values; sookjai is about avoiding the everyday chaos that distracts you, instead focusing on taking life as it comes and creating your own reality. Literally, its meaning is ‘to enjoy’ and ‘happy heart’, although there will be less enjoyment and heavy hearts in six of their 13 restaurants, one of which is to close permanently and five others will stay closed until it is viable for them to reopen, and seven will keep trading.
Up in the historic market town of Whitney in Oxfordshire, a sale of Nationwide has now been completed, including a majority of the group’s assets to RunMyCar Ltd., a subsidiary of Redd Northgate plc., saving almost 2,350 positions across 80 sites. Down in London they sold a Pad Thai Chicken and a Red Jungle Curry (which are very fine, by the way).
Rachael Wilkinson, taking time off to tuck into a brownie stolen from the picnic basket, said: “The vehicle sector is set for a make or break rebalancing period over the next few months. Refreshed lending agreements, cash conservation and supply chain management will be key. Oo, this brownie is delicious.”
Down in London, Terry Harrison, MD of Busaba said: “By everyone being so supportive and flexible and with the support of our new owners, we have a fighting chance to ensure the business is around to celebrate another 20 years, by us continuing to focus on what makes Busaba great.” The company would not disclose the identity of its new owners.
Two stories, two businesses, two results and two businesses live to fight on. Back to the picnic in time for tea?