NEWS

Insurers cast doubt over future of Maplin

Published on: 27th November 2017

Credit insurers have cut their exposure to the retailer in the run-up to Christmas. 

As reported by the Telegraph, QBE pulled cover last month, while fellow insurers Euler Hermes and Atradius are also understood to have scaled back their exposure, having been spooked by falling profits, and concerns about struggling sales and the wider retail downturn.

It means some suppliers could struggle to insure their debts with Maplin to enable them to continue supplying it with goods. Maplin has 211 stores in the UK, employing around 2,600 people.

The chain’s owners, Rutland Partners, are set to meet credit insurers later this week to update them about the company’s performance in a bid to reassure them that it can continue trading. A source close to the investor said that another credit insurer had ­recently doubled its exposure to the firm, and that Maplin had credit insurance ­available and was trading within its banking facilities.

It denied that the owner would be forced to carry out a cash injection in the coming weeks to keep Maplin trading through the potentially lucrative Christmas period.

The latest results for Maplin’s parent company MEL Topco showed that the business made a loss of more than £11.7m in the year to 19th March 2016, from a loss of £6.2m the previous year. Turnover dipped to £234.5m from £236.2m.

According to last year’s accounts, the firm’s gross margins were holding up, at 48%. Maplin generated cash of £16.26m for the period, versus £10.49m in the same financial year which ended in 2015.

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