Major pub businesses of Dundee businessman Jimmy Marr have gone into administration.
A total of 16 licensed and other premises are involved, including the Taybridge Bar on Perth Road, one of the city’s best-known hostelries.
The Park House Hotel on Coupar Angus Road and the Playwright in South Tay Street are also affected.
Mr Marr blamed the setback on the vigorous debt recovery action of Luxembourg-based lender Clipper Holding, which put his two firms into administration.
He said that the businesses concerned are continuing to trade and no
employees have lost their jobs.
The two companies are Park Investments (Dundee) Ltd and Park Properties (Dundee) Ltd, and their principal directors were Jimmy Marr and his wife Karen.
Park Investments was set up as an investment vehicle to acquire and own a number of restaurants, bars and hotels.
Park Properties is a similar company that owns a nursery and a yoga studio.
Most of the 16 premises affected are in Dundee, with one each in Arbroath,
Forfar and Brechin.
Lyn Leon Vardy, Toby Scott Underwood and Graham Douglas Frost of PwC were appointed as administrators of the two companies.
Lyn Leon Vardy said: “Following the administration appointment, our Scottish restructuring team have met with the director of the companies and have notified all 16 tenants of our appointment.
“The tenants continue to operate from the units they occupy. We are working with both the director and the tenants to assess the optimal realisation strategy for the properties. Parties who may be interested in purchasing these properties should contact our office on 0113 289 4000.”
Last night Mr Marr said the two companies were funded for a number of years by Allied Irish Banks (AIB).
It was severely affected by the banking crisis and was restructured by the Irish state.
He explained that in December
2015 Clipper Holding 11 sarl., a
Luxembourg-based company, bought from AIB £650 million of UK loans of which 200 related to businesses in
Scotland, including the two Park
“This action (the administration)
was taken by Clipper Holding after the parties could not agree to the new loan terms being imposed by Clipper.
“Park Investments is a company that owns a number of public houses which are successfully run by tenant publicans.
“These establishments will not be affected by the administration order and will continue to trade.”
He added that none of the other businesses he runs in Dundee is affected by the action against the Park companies.
From rags to riches: the family that brought glamour to Dens
Jimmy Marr, 56, grew up in Fintry, Dundee, and first worked as a painter and decorator.
He saw a better future for himself in the licensed trade and made the Hawthorn Bar in Hilltown his first foray.
After building it into a thriving hostelry, he took over more businesses and eventually built an empire of pubs, nightclubs and hotels.
They had a combined turnover running to millions of pounds and employed several hundred people.
He turned his hand to property development, with his firm delivering some prestige projects including the luxury Beach Crescent flats in Broughty Ferry.
Jimmy, with brother Peter, 65, came to national prominence when they took over their beloved Dundee FC, with Jimmy serving as chairman and Peter as chief executive.
They presided over one of the boldest ventures in the Scottish game when they brought former top Italian footballers Ivano and Dario Bonetti to Dens Park as a management team.
The Marrs made funds available to bring in players from Italy and Argentina, notably Fabrizio Ravanelli and Claudio Caniggia, to hoist Dundee to the upper reaches of the domestic game.
Sadly, the plan was scuppered by the collapse of the transfer market. Dundee was plunged into administration with debts of £23 million, the foreign talent departed cheaply and the team was relegated.
A fellow Dundee businessman said of Jimmy’s latest reverse: “It is a tragedy for him.
“He is a very successful businessman who has employed hundreds of people and given them livelihoods.”
He added: “Jimmy is a good lad and I’m sure he will come through this and be a success again, running good pubs and hotels and employing many people.”
The two Jimmy Marr companies appear to be the latest casualties of the vigorous debt recovery action taken by Luxembourg-based Clipper Holding.
Clipper bought the debts of Allied Irish Banks (AIB), which held floating charges over the properties of Park Investments and Park Properties in Dundee.
AIB was taken under Irish state control after the financial crash of 2009 and had to urgently sell assets to repay the £18 billion pumped into it to keep it afloat.
Clipper has been taking strenuous action to recover its outlay and last year put another Scottish pub and hotel chain, Challenger Inns, into administration.
It previously made similar moves in connection with the Lindores companies of Dundee property developer Tim Allan.
Park Investments and Park Properties were both solvent according to their most recent annual accounts.
Park Investments made a loss in the year to October 2015 but had net assets of more than £450,000.
The bank loan for the business was covered by a fixed charge over the land and buildings as well as the floating charge.
There were also significant personal guarantees for the bank borrowing at that time from Karen Marr for £1 million and Jimmy Marr for £1.2m.
Park Properties made a profit in the year to February 2016 and had net assets of around £215,000.
There was plenty of evidence to suggest the two firms were very much going concerns and viable, but their Luxembourg lenders had a different view.