FORMER Rangers owner Sir David Murray has insisted that losses to ordinary creditors will be “minimal” as proceedings to liquidate Murray International Holdings (MIH) got under way.
The entrepreneur’s former metals and property empire – which is separate from his family interests and Murray Capital investment vehicle – has now sold all its trading subsidiaries and a creditors’ meeting is scheduled for next week.
CONNECT WITH THE SCOTSMAN
• Subscribe to our daily newsletter (requires registration) and get the latest news, sport and business headlines delivered to your inbox every morning
According to the latest available accounts, MIH had net debts of £346.7 million at the end of June 2013, but Murray told The Scotsman that the figure had “changed quite a lot since then”.
The entrepreneur, who sold Rangers to Craig Whyte for £1 in 2011, said that Murray Group Holdings now had debts of about £40m, while MIH’s property arm, PPG, owed £150m. The outsourcing division, which formerly owned call centre operator Response, has debts of £10m.
Murray said: “This is the end of an orderly wind-down, and there are minimal ordinary creditors. The main losers are obviously the secured lender [Lloyds Banking Group] and the stakeholders.
“I think we’ve done a good job to minimise the loss to the bank and to protect as many jobs as possible. If you look at the number of people who are still in the workforce, it’s heading towards £100m a year in salaries and so on into the economy.
“The company was caught in a perfect storm when the price of steel and the commercial property market collapsed.”
Murray remains as executive chairman of the private investment company Murray Capital, where his son – also called David – is chief executive.
After selling off its range of business interests over the past six years, MIH said it had secured employment for more than 95 per cent of the workforce, which stood at 3,000 in 2008.
Murray said: “I’m not trying to say it was easy, but we’ve come under the microscope because of the Rangers connection, and I can accept that. We haven’t run away from this – we’ve worked it out, and while it could have been better, it could have been a hell of a lot worse.”
SUBSCRIBE TO THE SCOTSMAN’S BUSINESS BRIEFING