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Receivership could affect 10,000 boat holidays

UP TO 10,000 customers of the Norfolk Broads boating specialist Pennant Holidays and sister company Holimarine risk losing their holidays, following yesterday's announcement that their parent, Mowat Group, had gone into receivership, writes Frank Barrett.

Problems in Mowat's commercial property division are believed to have been the main cause of the crisis. However, the holiday division has been badly hit by the downturn in UK holiday bookings this summer.

A spokesman for Mowat admitted that the boating business had declined by about 25 per cent, forcing it to offer substantial discounts. 'In the peak season month of August, we were charging pounds 450 per week for boats instead of pounds 750. This is the first time this has ever happened,' he said.

After Hoseasons and Blakes, Pennant is the third biggest Broads boating company, with a 20 per cent share of the market. Pennant and Holimarine have about 10,000 bookings for September and October.

Last month, Broads Tours agreed to purchase Mowat's boatyard at Potter Heigham, and its fleet of 150 boats, for pounds 3.78m. However, the sale was not due to be completed until 31 October. With Mowat now in receivership, it is hoped that Broads Tours will honour Pennant's remaining bookings. A spokesman for Broads Tours said no decision had been taken on that matter.