Collapse puts 40,000 holidays at risk

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The Independent Online
RECEIVERS for the Mowat Group said last night that 40,000 holidays booked with the group's Holimarine and Pennant subsidiaries from 3 October onwards were at risk after the company collapse.

The company is not a member of the Association of British Travel Agents, which guarantees the refund of customers' money if a member ceases trading.

Nigel Atkinson and Ian McIsaac, the joint receivers, of accountants Touche Ross, said: 'We would like to confirm that the 18,000 holidays booked with Holimarine and Pennant Boats between now and October 3 are safe. There are bookings for a further 40,000 holidays from October onwards.'

They hope to sell Holimarine and Pennant, which employ 750 staff between them, as going concerns, safeguarding the holidays already booked.

From the initial assessment of the company's position, the joint receivers said they were confident enough to take further bookings for the period up to October 3. All deposits were being placed in a trust account to safeguard them.

Mr McIsaac said he had met with Broads Tours, the proposed purchaser of the Pennant Boat business, and they were now in negotiations to complete the sale. Pennant Boats operates from boatyards in Potter Heigham, Horning and Great Yarmouth, all in Norfolk.

The receivers blamed Mowat's problems on substantial losses on property development.

Mowat has 11 holiday parks in Britain, trading under the Holimarine and Pennant names around the coast. They provide accommodation for 7,500 people in a mixture of apartments, chalets, lodges and caravans.

Mowat was also the largest independent hire cruise operator on the Norfolk Broads, with about 175 cruisers for hire, 35 launches and four pleasure cruisers.

Mowat's Peerglow housing and property divisions have built homes, mostly in Staffordshire and Cheshire, and have developed a range of commercial and industrial units around the M25 and elsewhere.

Helpline numbers have been set up for holidaymakers booked with the companies: Holimarine 0902 880800 and Pennant 0692 670100.