Advantage Cellular still owes £8m


Distributor Advantage Cellular, in administration, is expected to go into liquidation within the next five months as it resolves creditor payments and clawbacks owed by dealers.

The majority of the money it owes – £5,187,457, of £8,014,275 – is owed to Polish service provider Centernet, owned by the investment fund of Advantage’s main backer, Polish billionaire Roman Karkosik (pictured, right).

Another £820,665 is owed to Advantage parent company Xebra, run by former Advantage chairman Simon Earle (pictured, left).

3 is owed £550,000 in clawbacks, while HMRC is owed around £800,000 in unpaid VAT payments.

Around 40 employees are owed £29,833 for redundancy payments, wages in arrears and outstanding holiday pay claims, although a total of £36,355 has been claimed by employees already.

Administrator Mark Boughey, of Smith and Williamson, said the £29,833 was expected to be paid to employees.

Other creditors include dealerships Marmalade, which went into liquidation in August, owed £64,661 by Advantage. Marmalade is understood to be on a list of dealers that owes Advantage money in clawbacks, although Boughey would not disclose details.

Dealership Whisper Communications is owed £15,000, while Mobile Phone Warehouse is owed £4,716 and Free Fone Select £3,388. Excalibur distribution is owed £3,359. In total all creditors are owed £8,014,275.

Smith and Williamson has commenced an investigation into what clawbacks are owed by what dealers.

An undetermined amount of clawbacks by certain dealers, could go some way towards paying 3.

Consultancy Edward Symmons and Partners was appointed to take charge of the sale of the company’s assets, largely achieved by selling individual handsets on eBay.

Around £50,000 in stock costs have been recovered. The agent also dealt with the sale of office furniture, equipment and computers, which gained the company £17,686.

Boughey told Mobile News: “All money retrieved will be placed in a pot, and once the liquidator agrees the creditors’ claims, the level of payouts to be made will be determined.”

Smith and Williamson has charged Advantage a fee of £84,257, for 531 hours of work at an hourly rate of £158.61. It has so far received £40,000.