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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 December 2005, 22:06 GMT
Unwins off-licences near collapse
Wine bottles
The chain's new owners have a stake in a wine producer
UK off-licence chain Unwins is on the verge of administration, just nine months after being bought by a private equity firm.

The group's directors have given themselves until next Tuesday to find enough money to avoid administration.

In March, DM Private Equity bought the 168-year-old Kent-based firm. The group has almost 400 stores and 2,500 staff.

Recently, off-licences have been hit by increased sales of wine, beer and spirits at major supermarkets.

Unwins said its directors had made the application for administration - in the names of Unwins Wine Group and Unwins Limited - earlier this week as they considered the group's options.

In recent weeks, Unwins has put 40 stores up for sale while some outlets have been temporarily closed.

The firm added that although it was not currently in administration a protection order was now in place, meaning no litigation can be launched against the group and no action taken to repossess goods.

Private equity firm buys Unwins
07 Mar 05 |  Business

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