Lights go out at troubled clubs operator Luminar

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The Independent Online

The banks behind Luminar, the operator of 76 nightclubs, decided to turn off the lights and music and place it into administration last night.

Lloyds, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland pulled the plug despite Luminar saying as recently as 27 September that trading had "stabilised", like-for-like sales had risen and the performance of its "Fuzzy Logic" student nights during Freshers' Week had been "encouraging".

But Luminar, which owns Oceana, Liquid and Lava & Ignite clubs across the UK, said it would be placed into administration soon after trading in its shares was suspended yesterday.

The three banks had previously agreed to waive covenant tests on 11 May, and then extended these to 27 October to allow Luminar to "investigate longer-term restructuring options". But the company failed to find an answer to its debt burden and said that, as a result, it had "no option but to take steps to place the company and certain of its subsidiaries into administration".

As of 26 February, Luminar had debts of £91.5m. Simon Douglas, chief executive of Luminar since March 2010, was running the entertainment chain Zavvi when it collapsed in 2008.

Earlier this month, the licence for Luminar's Lava & Ignite club in Northampton was suspended after Nabila Nanfuka, 22, was crushed to death at a student night there.

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