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Comet backers pocket £54m 15 August 2013

The sale of stock and equipment from collapsed electrical retailer Comet has netted the company’s main secured creditor £54m.

Hailey Acquisitions Limited (HAL), the vehicle used by OpCapita and its investors to acquire Comet, has been paid the sum according to a progress report filed at Companies House by administrators Deloitte.

However, unsecured creditors, including HM Revenue & Customs, suppliers and landlords, are owed approximately £233m and will receive less that 1p in the pound.

The administrator’s report said: “It is not expected that any funds will be available to pay a dividend to the unsecured creditors of the company.”

The report also details that £29m has yet to be distributed.

OpCapita acquired Comet for just £2 in February 2012 from previous owners Kesa (now named Darty), funding Comet through loans secured against its assets, and was issued a £50m dowry from Kesa to run the chain.

OpCaptita also took on £110m of Kesa’s debt when it bought Comet.

HAL is reportedly in talks to buy up to £27m of the retailer’s taxable losses, which it could use to offset other tax payments, according to The Telegraph.

Comet collapsed into administration in November 2012, resulting in the loss of 7,000 jobs and the closure of its 236 UK stores by December 2012.

The insolvency prompted the Department of Business Innovation and Skills to launch an investigation into OpCapita’s acquisition of Comet and the insolvency process of the retailer.

Administrators Deloitte have so far racked up £10m in fees, while GA Europe has earned £7m as advisors to the administrators.

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