House of Sher and Paisley hotel now on list of failures

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A CASH and carry warehouse and a landmark Paisley hotel have become the latest Scottish businesses to fall into administration.

The directors of House of Sher, a cash and carry warehouse in Tradestown, and the business behind the 17th-century Watermill Hotel join a growing list headed by some of Britain’s biggest retailers.

Ian Wright, managing director of insolvency firm WRI Associates, confirmed the Glasgow-based warehouse operation would be closed with the loss of ten jobs. Administrator were appointed on 15 January.

However, administrators for the Paisley hotel expect to sell the business, which employs 34 people, as a going concern.

House of Sher is a standalone business and is separate from – but still linked to – the larger Sher Brothers cash and carry empire. The businesses share two directors – Waheed Sher and Tariq Mahmood Ali – and the failed warehouse is listed on the Sher Brothers’ website.

According to its latest accounts, the warehouse business made a pre-tax loss of £643,163 on a turnover of £2.1 million for the year ended 31 December 2010. At this point, the company employed 36 people.

Joint administrators of the Watermill Hotel, Paul Dounis and Ken Pattullo of Begbies Traynor, were appointed on 
11 January and have hired Colliers International as property agents to sell the hotel freehold.

The administrators said the owners, Michael and Silvia Lavizani, had operated the business for 11 years but that the Watermill Hotel (Paisley), had been “under the burden of unsustainable debts”.

According to the most recent accounts filed at Companies House, the hotel had debts of £719,592 falling due within one year of the end of its most recent financial year, ending 31 December, 2011. The figure was more than double that of the debt due the previous year, £321,313.

Dounis said: “We have been able to continue to trade the Watermill Hotel for the present time, and as far as bookings, staff and customers are concerned it is business as usual.

“We are actively marketing the hotel as a going concern and we are optimistic that a buyer can be found for this as an investment either by an individual or a larger chain of hotels.

“The hotel is very well located … and attracts a good balance of business and leisure trade.

“The venue has been run by the same owners for the past 11 or so years, but unfortunately the economic downturn made it impossible for revenues to cover the cost of servicing the debt of the company and meet its financial obligations.”

The hotel has undergone refurbishment in recent years, including the addition of a new function suite known as The Ballroom in 2011, the administrators added.