Loyalty card firm Premier Benefit Card has joined the petition to have Unique placed into liquidation to recover its debts.
Nemesis financial director Stuart Bird said: “We are supportive of Unique and everyone working there. This is a result of Unique’s ownership, not of the company itself or its staff.”
Further creditors are expected to apply to join the winding-up petition against Unique this week.
Unique staff were yet to return to work last week, as Mobile News went to press. Up to 100 staff have been locked out of Unique’s Hayes distribution headquarters for almost a month as Unique attempts to resolve problems with insurance payments on the site via a managing receiver.
Chantrey Vellacott, the receiver, was reinstalled by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) earlier this month as it conducts a VAT fraud investigation into Unique parent company IGB; specifically transactions dating back to 2005.
Chantrey Vellacott said last week it was in discussions with several parties about a possible sale of Unique. David Ingram, partner at Chantrey Vellacott, said: “It is in management receivership. I’ll be looking to preserve the business, or sell it. I am in discussions with the management and parties interested in acquiring the firm.”
Unique commercial director David Hinc said: “They can’t sell the business without the consent of the owners or the court. They may have their own agenda, but it may not come to fruition.”
IGB’s lawyers, the Khan Partnership, expect to appeal the appointment of a managing receiver, as well as the freezing order in place over IGB’s accounts, in the next fortnight.
Hinc said: “The managing agents aren’t managing the business with our best interests in mind. There is plenty of cash in the bank to pay people, and we want to pay Nemesis. But for some reason the managing agent doesn’t.”
Meanwhile, Unique staff are seeking, or already in, new employment. Brightstar took around 20 sales staff, including head of sales Jolyon Bennett, this month.