KPMG administrators aim to sell racecourse by end of October

14 September 2018 3 min. read

Administrators from KPMG are reportedly jockeying for suitable buyers, as they look to sell a horse racing facility by the end of October, having already let the bulk of its staff go in August. Towcester Racecourse hosts National Hunt Rules race meetings, and its closure has already seen one meeting transferred to another course as an emergency measure.

Having been functioning for 90 years since its first racing meeting took place in 1928, Towcester Racecourse remains highly popular among the racing community. It’s enduring prevalence is primarily thanks to its notoriously sharp bends and the final gallop to its finishing post being uphill, which test horses to the maximum and often producing unexpected winners as a result. It was also the historic site where jockey AP McCoy rode his 4,000th winner in 2013.

However, recent woes have seen the famous sporting location forced to close its doors in recent weeks, finally succumbing to financial struggles. The course’s directors had been working with shareholders and stakeholders to identify a workable long term solution to the difficulties, however the recently rebuilt facility collapsed into administration at the end of August. The news saw 134 of the racecourse’s 137 staff made redundant, while just three people remain in order to help KPMG’s joint administrators as they search for a buyer of the business and its assets.

KPMG administrators aim to sell racecourse by end of October

Mark Orton and Will Wright were appointed from the Big Four firm’s restructuring arm to oversee the liquidation of the Towcester Racecourse Company. Commenting almost a month later, the administrators now say they are hoping to sell the business next month. The administration team has also been working with the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and has announced that the 10 October jump fixture, which was held at the venue in previous years, will be transferred as a one-off to Southwell Racecourse.

Orton stated, "We’re pleased that the jump fixture on 10 October is now able to go ahead and we will continue to work with the BHA to enable the sale of 10 further upcoming fixtures at Towcester Racecourse.” In terms of sales prospects, he added, "There has been a strong response from the market, with 25 interested parties to date and we are now in the process of working through these. Indicative offers are being sought in late September and we hope to conclude the sale process in October, to allow sufficient time for the 29 November 2018 jump fixture to be held at Towcester Racecourse."

Recently Orton was also appointed as a joint administrator at the Lincolnshire-based Quality Furniture Company (QFC), alongside Chris Pole. While initially there were no redundancies during that process, as a buyer is yet to be found, a total of 30 people have now lost their jobs with the collapsed company. While administrators had hoped to avoid a downsizing of the workforce, QFC had put a number of staff on notice before appointing KPMG, and all affected staff will be paid up to and including their last day of employment.

Commenting on the disappointing news, Chris Pole said, “We’d like to thank all employees for the support, service and co-operation they have provided to the company, both before and during the administration. Over the coming weeks, we remain focused on doing all we can to preserve as many jobs as possible, whilst we continue to trade the business as a going concern. I’d encourage any interested parties to make contact as soon as possible."