Suppliers owed tens of thousands of pounds following the collapse of Unpackaged Holidays and the subsequent sale of subsidiary Seligo have labelled the deal “immoral” and called for ABTA to investigate.
Creditors include the Lowcost Travel Group, which is owed £25,000 in past debts and £54,000 in forward bookings through its transfer subsidiary Resorthoppa; TUI-owned bed bank hotelbeds.com; and some ABTA agents.
Spanish ground handling agent Jumbo Tours is also owed nearly 250,000 euros and Alpha Prospects, which has an option to buy new Seligo parent company The Travel Club of Upminster, is owed around £500,000.
Lowcost Travel Group chief executive Paul Evans said: “It is not acceptable to walk away from creditors, including other ABTA members. We will be calling for an immediate investigation by ABTA. While it is not illegal, it is immoral.”
Other ABTA agents, who would not be quoted, also called the pre-packaged sale – which effectively allows a company to wipe clean its debts but safeguard the future of the company and its staff – “immoral”.
Meanwhile, Jumbo Tours commercial director Rafael Rossello said: “Under English law we have no power to do anything, but we would like to come to a gentleman’s agreement.”
Unpackaged Holidays went into administration on Tuesday and its assets, which include the trading name of bed bank Seligo and its customer database, were sold to The Travel Club of Upminster.
A “pre-pack” sale allows companies in financial difficulties to sell a business to a third-party or existing management to safeguard the company and its staff. Seligo’s staff were made redundant as a result and the majority re-employed by The Travel Club.
Administrators Shipleys said secured creditors, such as banks, would be paid first followed by unsecured creditors, mainly suppliers. But administrator Conrad Beighton admitted: “It is uncertain whether unsecured creditors will receive their money.”
The Travel Club director Tony Freudmann, brother of Steven, was also sole director of Unpackaged Holidays. He said: “I have made no secret of that [being director of both companies]. Someone could have come and outbid us – we had no control over the sale. This sale was designed to protect existing customers and staff.”
He stressed that expressions of interest from companies with a potential interest in buying the assets of Unpackaged Holidays were sought as part of the pre-pack sale.
There will now be a review of Seligo’s business model. “It may be that the days of bed banks selling to retailers are numbered; we will be taking a long, hard look at the business now.”
He admitted some agents may be owed small amounts of money. “There may be a small amount of money owed in terms of incentive payments. Some will want to deal with us, some will not,” he said.
An ABTA spokeswoman said it could not comment on the deal.
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