Hopes still alive of at least part rescue of BHS

3 May 2016 - Janet Bird

bhs could still be saved

A week after the collapse of BHS, hopes are still alive that at least part of the business can be saved.

Billionaire founder of Sports Direct Mike Ashley told the Telegraph he is putting together a bid for the beleaguered retailer that would save the jobs of its 11,000 staff and keep all its stores open.

Co-operative Group chairman Allan Leighton, a former BHS chairman, is also said to be considering a bid for a large number of its stores. Leighton is believed to be one of a number of potential bidders interested in parts of the BHS business.

BHS entered administration on April 25 after owner Dominic Chappell failed to secure last-minute funding to keep the business afloat or to do a deal with Ashley. Stores continue to trade and staff are being paid while the administrator, Duff & Phelps, seeks a buyer.

Burdened by debts of £1.3 billion and a £571 million pension shortfall, BHS initially seemed beyond rescue. But the administrators are said to be increasingly optimistic about a deal to save at least a substantial part of the business and its 164 stores.

Meanwhile, MPs want to question former BHS owner Sir Philip Green and his wife Tina, who was a trustee of BHS, about their handling of the business.

The Work and Pensions Committee want to ask the Greens about dividends paid out by BHS and how its pension deficit will affect the UK's Pension Protection Fund, which is funded by contributions from other pension pots.

MPs on the business committee would like the couple to answer questions about the sale and acquisition of BHS by Chappell.

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