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Kiely attending a performance of Once in London. PA images
fashion design

Orla Kiely retail administrators beat expectations with left over stock sales

The Irish fashioner designer’s company went out of business last September with debts of £7.25 million (€8.1 million)

THE ADMINISTRATORS OF the collapsed Orla Kiely fashion empire have beaten expectations with the sale of left over designer goods stock from the business’s shops and head office.

This follows the Administrators organising direct sales to the public of Ms Kiely’s signature quirky print items via a pop-up shop in the run-up to Christmas and three auctions.

That is according to the first progress report filed to Companies House in the UK by the Administrators of Kiely Rowan plc which went out of business last September with debts of £7.25 million (€8.1 million).

Ms Kiely’s fashion empire had been helped in no small way by the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton who has worn her distinctive print coats on a number of occasions.

In a press interview in March, ‘Queen of Prints’ Ms Kiely described the collapse of her clothing business as “a bereavement”. 

She said: “We did everything we could to save the business and to watch it fail was devastating.”

Now in the first progress report, Joint Administrator, Chris Newell said that the main asset of the company was the stock which has now been realised in full.


Mr Newell had estimated that the sell off of stock would realise around £45,000 (€52,800) to £60,000 (€70475) and during the period, the sales have totalled £75,000 (€88,000)

On the three auctions and pop-up shop sale, Mr Newell said that “selling the items directly to the public generated far higher realisations than would have been achieved if simply sold in bulk”.

He added: “After taking into account the agents’ costs and the actual costs of the auctions and the shop, the Joint Administrators believe that this has generated a better return into the Administration.”

Mr Newell also confirmed that a further £30,000 (€35,200) was realised from the sale of items in the US that was not anticipated in the firm’s Statement of Affairs.

However any gains made from the higher than expected realisation of stock have been almost wiped out with Mr Newell writing off the prospect of recovering £26,000 (€30,500) owed to the firm by debtors.

A connected entity, Killyon Stem LLP held licensing agreements with manufacturers on behalf of the Orla Kiely brand and the Administrators for that firm are expected to receive a minimum of £73,000 (€85,700) in royalty payments.

Mr Newell states that he expects there to be a payment from the Administration of Killyon Stem LLP into the Kiely Rowan plc Administration but that the final quantum is uncertain.

During the first phase of the Administration to March 20th, the Administrators have taken £107,829 (€126,665)in receipts and made £70,492 (€82,300) in payments..

The firm’s secured creditor, Metro Bank is owed £2.15 million (€2.35m)and Mr Newell states that “it is not anticipated that the secured creditor will be paid in full”.

Left empty-handed

Mr Newell states that his colleagues have incurred significant time costs in assisting former Orla Kiely staff to obtain payments from the UK Redundancy Payments Office.

He said that ‘Preferential Claims’ relating to holiday pay and wage arrears were estimated to be at £97,412 (€114,000) and to date Preferential Claims received total £41,398 (€49,000).

Mr Newell states that “it is uncertain whether there will be sufficient realisations to pay a dividend to preferential creditors”.

Unsecured creditors will be left empty-handed from the Administration with the Administrators currently estimating a deficiency in assets of £7.3 million (€8.5m).

Mr Newell states that unsecured claims from creditors were estimated at £6.13 million (€7.4m) and the administrators have received 231 claims totalling £4.7 million (€5.5m).

Mr Newell further states in accordance with the Administrators’ statutory duties, an investigation into the conduct of the company directors of Kiely Rowan plc has been completed.

He said that a confidential report was submitted to the Insolvency Service on December 21st 2018.

Mr Newell said that the Administration of the business “to be of average complexity with the exception of dealing with the high public presence of the company and the initial high volume of correspondence from the public and consumer creditors”.

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