Fat Cat Café Bars placed in administration

Fat Cat DerbyBar operator The Fat Cat Group has been placed into administration, blaming January’s snow and freezing conditions for causing cashflow problems.

The group of companies, which date back to the first Fat Cat Café Bar in Bangor in 1992, was put in the hands of joint administrators Tyrone Courtman and Nicholas Edwards from business advisory firm Cooper Parry.

Last week, the directors put six of their 11 sites up for sale through Colliers International, including the option to buy the Fat Cat Café Bar name and continue roll-out.

The administrators have now closed outlets in Llandudno, Chester and Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. The bars in Bangor, Derby (pictured), Leicester and Bow in east London and a gastro-pub in Frodsham in Cheshire continue to operate.

The group sold its Fat Cat Café Bar in Cardiff earlier this year and closed its Wrexham bar in February.

The administrators warned that, while a number of bars were expected to trade on, some of the 200 staff would inevitably have to be made redundant.

Tyrone Courtman, head of restructuring at Cooper Parry, said “The companies have been adversely affected by poor trading at a few of their outlets.

“The administration affords the companies the opportunity of restructuring its business whilst continuing to trade. We are keen to explore all options and shall continue to trade those operations for the foreseeable future.

“We believe that those bars continuing are successful performers and we already have significant interest in them continuing as a going concern. I would urge anyone who has any interest in the businesses as a whole or in part to contact me as soon as possible.”

Managing director Matt Saunders and finance director Simon Paterson, former students at Bangor university, have run the business since opening the first bar in 1992.

Talking to the BBC, Matt said: “We had a bad period during the snow in January, and that’s knocked our cashflow at a time when we were trading in a weak market. We flagged up the potential problems with our bank, but they declined to help.”

He added that the company had built up a “good little business”, saying: “It’s been rewarding to see how staff have developed. We had such a loyal workforce, some of whom have been with us for around 17 years. It’s horrific – the worst day of my life.”

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