The Malvern Group has appointed KPMG as administrators after announced it was to cease trading yesterday.
The parent of LateRooms.com, Super Break and Malvern Travel Technologies was 49% owned by Indian travel group Cox & Kings which had stopped funding the Manchester-based group.
Cox & Kings India had defaulted on a loan repayment a month ago and Malvern had reported losses of £2.2 million on turnover of £90 million in latest accounts filed at Companies House.
Malvern bosses had been optimistic of finding a buyer having brought in KPMG to assess its options, but yesterday conceded defeat and announced its closure putting 350 staff at risk of losing their jobs.
In a statement the firm said: “Unfortunately, given the short time frame enabled by our cash position and despite interest from potential purchasers, we have been unable to secure bank support or a sale of the business.
“As a result, Late Rooms Ltd (LateRooms.com), Super Break Mini-Holidays Ltd (Super Break) and Malvern Travel Technology Limited are unable to continue on a solvent basis and have ceased trading.”
Hugo Kimber, executive chairman, added: “This is a devastating blow for all of our wonderful employees who have invested so much time and effort into building Malvern, its brands and trips technology platform.
“This is equally difficult for all our suppliers, partners and customers who will be impacted by this news. To be so close to delivering our goal of an integrated, dynamic and commercially successful business, that could provide significant value through its innovative products, is heart-breaking.”
Having built and launched its own “dynamic bundling” technology under the Malvern brand, the group announced in June its first partner coach operator National Express would launch a holidays division.
Joint administrators Tracey Pye and David Costley-Wood from KPMG have now been appointed.
Pye said: “The directors of Malvern Group embarked upon an accelerated sales process to bring further investment into the business.
“However, with the cash position of the company deteriorating rapidly, this process was unfortunately unsuccessful, prompting the directors to take the difficult decision to appoint the administrators.
“Coming in the midst of the summer holidays, we understand this news will be of grave concern to 23,000 LateRooms.com and 19,000 Super Break customers who have future bookings with the group.
“Detailed information regarding how bookings will be affected can be found on the LateRooms.com and Super Break websites.
“Unfortunately, the customer contact centre is no longer operational, so we kindly request passengers do refer to the information online in the first instance.
“We continue to invite offers for the business, and would urge any interested parties to make their interest known as soon as possible.”