Eddie Brown Tours goes into liquidation

Wetherby-based Eddie Brown Tours Ltd has been placed in voluntary liquidation after running out of cash and failing ‘turn the business around as planned’.

The decision, which was implemented on 23 December, came after the HMRC petitioned a winding-up order for £300,000.

The firm, based at Thorp Arch Estate, was bought by Barbados-based Island Fortitude earlier last year and has struggled with historical debt and other issues.

This culminated in 28 of its 38 vehicles being taken back by finance companies in mid-December.

Since the firm was bought, more than £250,000 has been put into the business by its shareholders, who are the biggest creditor. This money will be lost by the shareholders.

A new company, Eddie Brown Travel Ltd, will take over some work, with it being operated by other coach firms owned by Island Fortitude.

A statement on the company’s website read: “Although this is a sad situation to be faced with, arrangements were put in place to safeguard the future of the holidays and excursions programme.

“Therefore, we can confirm your bookings will be unaffected and have been taken over by Yorkshire operator Globe Holidays Ltd. This means our day trips and holidays will be trading under their name as Eddie Brown Travel.”

The travel company also confirmed that they has closed their Thorp Arch Estate booking office, with the usual telephone numbers diverted to their new office in Barnsley.

However, Eddie Browns stressed that it was still ‘business as usual’ for holiday and daytrip bookings.

Private hire and coach touring contracts have been re-assigned to other non-connected operators and staff wages were also paid immediately before the company was put into receivership.

Eddie Brown Director Gary Priest told Route One Magazine: “The investors had 48 hours to examine the business when it was sold by KPMG, which meant that the due diligence was not as thorough as it would otherwise have been.

“After purchasing the firm from the Brown family, a number of financial issues were discovered.

“We’ve worked incredibly hard to try to trade our way out of it, but ultimately the winding-up petition served by HMRC left the shareholders with no alternative, other than to appoint receivers.

“We have set up Eddie Brown Travel Ltd which will continue in a smaller, profitable, form and continue to provide employment for staff on a firm financial footing.”