A pre-pack lightens the load for Cobra

It is a long walk up the tourist path to the summit of Ben Nevis.

If you are a lucky entrepreneur with time to spare, you keep an eye on the weather, dash up to Fort William, and start walking.

The path goes up, up and up.

100,000 people make the yomp each year, so you are never alone.

It is a pity that you cannot “pre-pack” the walk and start fresh half way up. Today (Tuesday, 16 June)’s entrepreneurs who struggle on their journey call in a sherpa or guide like McTear Williams & Wood and cast off their unwanted load of unsecured creditors along the way and start afresh.

Lord Karim Bilimora of Chelsea – inspirational speaker, Entrepreneur in Residence at Judge Business School and founder of Cobra Beer – has just taken the pre-pack route and swapped a controlling interest in Cobra Beer for a minority stake in a new company owned 50.1% by Molson Coors.

Up to £70m of creditors may have been left behind. The prepack deal looks like a rights issue with the added advantage of a culling of the creditors. Not so long ago shareholders were looking forward to a sale of Cobra for around £200m; but back to square one with a lightened load and new management, good times could be just round the corner.

So, with business booming, the sherpas of McTear Williams & Wood are celebrating the opening of new offices in Cambridge. In MW&W’s latest newsletter, Andrew McTear says: “Whether you like them or not, pre-packs are a feature of the modern business rescue and insolvency world. If used inappropriately they can cause greater loss to creditors and damage reputations.

“Used in the right circumstances they can be a force for good.”

As the new Cobra sets out to reach the summit and reward all the new stakeholders, the walker can look forward to a well-earned beer back at The Ben Nevis Inn.

Unless, of course, you are an unsecured creditor or ex-employee when perhaps you can only afford to look at the webcam of Ben Nevis while you contemplate your losses.

Anyone for a beer? A Cobra?

Philip Baddeley, Cambridge News

NOTE: This article was issued independantly and not by McTear Williams & Wood and no member of the firm has acted on the Cobra case.

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