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Published on Thursday, January 14, 2021

Collapsed VIP Ski acquired by founder

Collapsed ski operator VIP Ski has been acquired by a business owned by its founder, Andy Sturt, for £175,000.

The sale was confirmed in documents lodged with Companies House which showed unsecured creditors were owed £6.75 million by VIP Ski parent APS Select.

The operator went into administration in November, blaming Covid for wrecking the business.

At the time, Sturt, founder and Managing Director apologised for 'not being able to find a way through this and for letting you all down'.

But Sturt has now acquired some of the assets and the brand name in a deal struck with administrators, ReSolve.

More than 35 companies showed initial interest in acquiring the ski operator, with six firm offers received - including one from management.

That was narrowed down to three, with ReSolve accepting a £175,000 offer from Vita Brevis, a company run by Sturt.

"The decision was made to accept (the offer) as the cash consideration, future revenue share, transfer of retained staff (thus mitigating additional preferential claims) and reduction of unsecured claims will result in an overall better outcome for the creditors of the company," the report said.

The adminstrator said a distribution to unsecured creditors is anticipated 'provided further assets are recovered'.

Documents showed VIP Ski carried 10,000 passengers in 2018/19, falling to 2019/20 as Covid began to spread. As at 31 May 2020 the operation had a turnover of around £11m.

The business had forecast a profit of £400,000 prior to Covid, but since 15 March had cancelled all bookings, affecting 2,667 customers.

While initially hoping to trade through the crisis - 60% of customers had re-booked for the 2021/22 season - the decision of Austrian and French authorities to close ski slopes forced the company into administration, the report added.

By Steve Jones, Contributing Editor (UK)

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  • Fish?

    While a purchase by the previous owner under a new name, tends to leave one sniffing the air for something fishy, this transition has a more legitimate air about it than the blatant phoenixing of Alpine Elements. At least the sale seems to have been put out to tender and of course, Sturt didn't announce the rise in the same email as the fall like Hardiman did - never a good look!

    By ex Severn, Thursday, January 14, 2021

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