Laura Ashley is going into administration after experiencing significant economic repercussions of COVID-19 outbreak. For the seven weeks up to 13th March, trading for the Laura Ashley business improved by 24% year-on-year and the directors were encouraged by this strong performance. However, the coronavirus outbreak has had an immediate and significant impact on trading, and ongoing developments indicate that this will be a sustained national situation.
Discussions with stakeholders have been ongoing and the directors are in advanced discussions for the provision of third-party debt funding. However, based on the company's revised cashflow forecasts and the increased uncertainty facing the Group, the company expects that it will not be in a position to draw down additional funds from third-party lenders in a timely manner sufficient to support working capital requirements. MUI Asia Limited has confirmed that it is unable to provide financial support in the required timeframe.
Accordingly, the Company has released notices of intention to appoint Robert Lewis and Zelf Hussain as administrators. If administrators are appointed in respect of the Company, given the Group's creditor position, the Company is not certain whether there would be any surplus assets available to shareholders of the Company. Laura Ashley has requested that its ordinary shares be suspended from a premium listing segment of the Official List.