Four out of six branches of collapsed agency chain Ambassador Travel are set to re-start trading under new ownership.
Ambassador Travel was officially placed into liquidation yesterday and insolvency practioners Durkan Cahill has been appointed to oversee the failure of the £6.5 million turnover business.
The chain, which had branches in Lee-on-Solent, Wantage, Aylesbury, Wells, Cheam and Gillingham in Kent, collapsed earlier this month due to cash flow problems.
Miles Morgan Travel has taken over the branch in Wells, Somerset, bringing its agency chain to 12 branches.
Advantage is in discussions with a further three of the chain’s branches to become managed service agencies run by existing members of staff. The Lee-on-Solent shop, which has remained open since the failure, is set to trade under the consortium’s managed service division “imminently”.
Miles Morgan Travel has bought the fixtures and fittings of the Wells’ shop for an undisclosed sum and is in the process of renegotiating the lease.
Morgan (pictured) said the location of the shop was a perfect fit for its clientele. It still has the brand Cathedral City over the door, which was the name of the independent agency prior to its acquisition by Ambassador Travel. It will now be changed to Miles Morgan Travel.
Morgan added: “As a small business we could move forward on this quickly. This agency was the only independent in Wells and our TV and radio campaigns running until mid-February cover that patch. Ambassador Travel sold similar holidays so it’s the right customer profile for us.”
The two staff at the Wells shop, including manager Margaret Moulton, will be retained and it is due to reopen tomorrow. A further member of staff is likely to be recruited.
Advantage said there was an “appetite” in three of the remaining branches for new businesses to be set up by existing staff under its managed service scheme, which takes care of all the paperwork, administration and bonding to allow staff to concentrate on selling holidays.
Sales and marketing director Colin O’Neill said: “They would be set up as separate independent businesses and would adopt new names. The failure is sad but we have confidence in three branches where people in the business are prepared to step up.”
Insolvency practioner Michael Durkan said the Wantage and Gillingham branches were unlikely to re-open, while the Advantage consortium has purchased the agency chain’s client database.
Existing bookings have been processed and tour operators paid.
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