BHS owner tried to move cash out of firm

BHS Store Oxford Street Image copyright Reuters

I've learned that as it became clear that BHS was going into administration, Dominic Chappell, the majority shareholder of BHS owner Retail Acquisitions, moved £1.5 million on Tuesday of last week to a company called BHS Sweden.

BHS Sweden was owned by a friend and fellow board member of Mr Chappell at Retail Aquisitions. Despite its name it had no connection with BHS.

On learning of this, BHS chief executive Darren Topp demanded its return on Wednesday and on Thursday.

It was returned minus £50,000 - to reflect the foreign exchange costs.

Dominic Chappell has also claimed in the press tonight that a £60m loan - a crucial part of the BHS refinancing - fell through because Philip Green refused to allow an IOU of £40m to be considered lower priority (be subordinated) to the new loan.

This claim is refuted by BHS who maintain that the loan was unacceptable in the first place due to its high upfront arrangement costs. The decision never got to the point where the pecking order of loans was discussed.

At the time of writing Dominic Chappell has not returned calls from the BBC.

As far as the future of BHS is concerned, the administrators have received 50 expressions of interest in the company - some for all of it, most for parts of it.

Rumours that a sale of 50 stores had been agreed with Sports Direct were denied tonight by the administrators.

In better news, BHS reported its strongest day of trading since it was acquired by Retail Acquisitions with trading up 80% compared to the same day last year. BHS sources dismissed the theory this was a result of gift voucher holders rushing to redeem.

BHS sources tell me they estimate there is enough cash to continue trading for up to a month and are encouraged by the show of loyalty from BHS customers.

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