In This Issue
Sell-off cash is critical to WGC's survival
Treadstone Products enjoys success at GCA conference
Make hay while the sun shines, says GTN Bestsellers
Vitavia greenhouses bring life to the garden
Horticultural Rising Stars have until Friday 22nd February to enter
Saddle up for Garden Re-Leaf Cycle Ride
Klondyke brings outdoor living to life at showcase event
The Pot Company offers unique range of Chinese Water Jars with exclusive discount
RHS celebrates half a million members
Tong raises £10,000 for children's cancer charity
Brian's lifetime in horticulture is just what doctor ordered
Get your own copy of GTN Xtra
Choice appoints Terry Maywood as non-executive chairman
Warmer weather set to ignite garden product sales
Veg-2-Grow sales start to pick up
Just the spark for growing media sales growth
Good recovery for plants after snow
HTA announces important diary dates for 2019
New Spring Fair Portfolio Director to take up role in re-edit year
Year of the Nasturtium and Carrot
The best of last week's
Caulders buy two centres from Dobbies
New Marketing Manager for LOFA
And the winners are….Glee at Spring Fair New Product Showcase winners confirmed
E.P. Barrus continues expansion with new warehouse
Bestsellers Top 50 charts every week
Buy your subscription to GTN Bestsellers
All the latest news from the world of garden centre catering
Going for gold – Casual Dining’s Innovation Challenge Awards boasts record entries
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Sell-off cash is critical to WGC's survival
GTN Newshound sticks his nose into the latest accounts

Woof woof! GTN Newshound here, back from yet another foray through the dark afforested territory known as Wyevale Garden Centres. Yes, hound-lovers, it’s still there, despite the best efforts of its parent, Terra Firma, to find good homes for everybody.


Although the two sets of 2017 accounts published recently (one for WGC Capital, the trading arm, and the other for WGC Holdings, the real estate and employment contracts arm, with neither set available, as they used to be, on the WGC website) are as impenetrable as corporate accounts inevitably end up (unless you’re an FD), these steered my moist little scout-snout towards what you could call ‘insights’.


The accounts themselves, which show a loss for the year-ended December 2017 of £116m and an operating loss for the year of £60.4m (mostly one-off write-downs of the value of non-cash assets), include ‘post-accounts’ financial statements chronicling the fortunes of the group during the following year, in which Terra Firma’s Guy Hands announced (on 22 May 2018) that WGC was for sale.


Companies House rules dictate that large businesses must make honest and, as far as possible, accurate declarations about their forward viability.


Under the ‘going concern’ sub-heading, the notes are pretty unequivocal about the cash flow risks the group faces unless it continues to find buyers for its remaining 99 garden centres.


The directors seem pretty happy with ‘Wyvexit’ so far, having realised £183m from the sale of 43 sites (excluding the six latest disposals to British Garden Centres and Rochmills). They are apparently also cheered by interest from potential purchasers of the rest of the group as an entity.


Debt has come down and there’s cash in the bank (£17.6m plus £2.7m cash in transit). Enough, then, barring unforeseen mishaps, to help the group meet its liabilities and keep a hound’s tail wagging softly (if unenthusiastically).


But then comes the warning about “material uncertainty” caused by the ongoing sell-off , potential Brexit issues, the weather-related volatility and unpredictable consumer sentiment. These, says the statement, “may cast significant doubt on the Group’s ability to continue as a going concern and, therefore, to continue realising its assets and discharging its liabilities”. The statement makes it clear that the key requirement is that future disposals are successfully concluded.


In other words, it looks like the WGC ship is sailing much closer to the wind than the directors would wish.

Despite this, credit analysts Experian upgraded WGC’s credit risk rating to “below average” last week. Newshound asked three suppliers for their reaction to that news. They said:

  1. “We’ll see…”
  2. “They’re tough, but they always pay.”
  3. “We don’t supply them any more. We probably got out in time.”

No-one wished to be named.


So there we have it, my little hound followers. Woof woof! from your loyal servant.

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