Written by: Keith Tully
Published: 27th January 2015
More than 500 jobs could be at risk within the pub chain aspects of the Maclay Group, which has called in administrators after being unable to find solutions to a series of unanticipated financial problems.
Maclay first began operating as a brewery business in Scotland in 1830 and currently owns 15 pubs around the country.
Administrators have said that the underlying Maclay business is strong but its pub chain has been left unable to cope with the consequences of an “unexpected funding requirement”.
A buyer is now being sought for the pubs owned by the business, which includes sites in St Andrews, Dundee, Dunfermline, Glasgow and Edinburgh. There are 560 people employed across the 15-strong chain of pubs, with all those people now facing an uncertain future.
Maclay has been focussed primarily on its chain of pubs since 2001, when its brewing operations ceased trading after well over a century of being based from the Thistle Brewery in Alloa.
“In recent months the directors have been seeking a strategic solution to the financial pressures facing the business,” a statement released by the Maclay Group said.
“In light of a solution not emerging in the time available, the directors took this decision in order to protect the employment of its 500 staff and the business which remains profitable.”
Tennent Caledonian Breweries (TCB), which entered into a supplier agreement with Maclays in 2012 and which has an equity stake in the pub chain business, released a statement of its own in response to recent developments.
“We can confirm that Tennent Caledonian Breweries is a supplier to and has an equity involvement in Maclay Group plc,” it said. “Following today’s announcement by Maclay Group, TCB will work with the bank, the administrators and other shareholders to optimise value for all stakeholders.”
Maclay’s isn’t the only British pub business to have found itself facing financial distress in the early weeks of 2015, with news emerging recently that a chain of pubs trading under a Marco Pierre White brand name was also forced to call in administrators.
Four pubs owned by Horatio Inns Ltd, and branded as being part of Mr White’s UK restaurants business, entered administration last week with staff at each establishment unsure of how much longer they might now be employed. The Norfolk-based businesses were said to have entered administration after “experiencing short term cash flow problems arising from the recent challenging economic environment”.