Company behind Rushmere Shopping Centre collapsed owing £91m

The Rushmere Shopping Centre in Craigavon.
The Rushmere Shopping Centre in Craigavon.

THE company behind the Rushmere Shopping Centre in Craigavon collapsed into administration owing around £91 million, a new report has confirmed.

Administrators were appointed to Central Craigavon Limited on April 7 2022 after Bank of Ireland stepped in to secure tens of millions of debt.

A new report from the joint administrators filed with Companies House this week confirmed the Rushmere Shopping Centre will likely be put up for sale in the coming months.

David Warnock and Stephen Tennant from Grant Thornton said Central Craigavon suffered badly following the collapse of key tenants Debenhams and the Topshop/Arcadia group.

“In addition to creating a large reduction in rental income, these voids also left behind large vacant units, with significant void costs falling due, including rates, service charge and insurance.”

Central Craigavon’s accounts for 2019 showed a loss of £32m after the valuation of its assets was cut by £37m.

Those assets include the 480,000 sq ft shopping centre, home to around 75 tenants, as well as the adjacent retail park, which comprises 10 units, a McDonalds drive thru and Sainsbury’s fuel court.

The Covid-19 pandemic subsequently hit footfall at the centre, with some tenants paying reduced rents. Rushmere also lost Sainsbury’s as a key tenant in February 2022, with the supermarket chain opting to end its tenancy a year early.

The Bank of Ireland eventually stepped in at the start of April 2022.

Three other companies within the Moyallen Group also entered administration during April.

Moyallen Properties Ltd, which owns the Magowan West shopping centre in Portadown, collapsed owing £10m to Bank of Ireland.

Another company, which owns the Peacock Centre in Woking, is also in administration.

The administrators said they are continuing on a “business as usual” basis, but added: “It is likely that the asset will be brought to market for sale in the coming months and we are currently finalising our strategy, approach and timelines in this regard.”

They also confirmed that Primark took on 50 per cent of the former Debenhams unit from March 2022.

The report adds “the shell unit [is] due to be handed over in the coming months once agreed alteration works have been completed”.

It confirmed Central Craigavon Ltd has around £5.2m in the bank, with some £2.6m owed when it entered administration. The joint administrators said the debts “continue to be collected post appointment to every extent possible”.

But based on the level of secured bank debt, they ‘do not envisage that there will be sufficient funds available to make a distribution to unsecured creditors’.

The report has to date identified around £581,794 in unsecured debt, with around half owed to companies within the Moyallen group.

The administrators said monies owed to HMRC are still to be confirmed.