Trouble for Merseyside brewery
bank refuses to fund the group
Shares in the Robert Cain Brewery in Liverpool were suspended on 1 August when the Bank of Scotland declared it could not support proposals from the brewery that threw into doubt its ability to continue in business.
On 28 July Cains announced losses of £4.5 million in the six months to April 2008. The directors said they were in negotiations with the Bank of Scotland regarding the renewal of banking facilities. On 1 August, the bank said it was unble to support Cain's proposals and as a result the brewery's shares were suspended.
In 2007, Cains made a reverse takeover for Honeycombe Leisure, a pub-owning group in North-west England with 95 outlets. It cost Cains £37 million, with borrowing provided by the Bank of Scotland. The cost of servicing the debt was £1.2 million for the first six months of 2008.
It is also understood that Cains has been unable to pay its tax bills and faces a winding-up order from HM Revenue & Customs.
The Robert Cain brewery was founded on Merseyside in 1850 and was bought by Higsons in the 1920s. Boddingtons of Manchester bought Higsons in 1985 and both breweries were subsequently taken over by Whitbread, who closed Higsons. It reopened under the Cain's name when the site was bought by Brewery Group Denmark, who sold it to Ajmail and Sudarghara Dusanj in 2002. The brothers had previously owned the soft drinks company Gardner-Shaw and they used their marketing skills to revive the fortunes of Cains. New brands include a 2008 Beer to mark Liverpool's role as the European City of Culture and a genuine lager matured for 90 days.
It would be tragic if Cains, after years of uncertainty and more recently stability and success were to close. It's to be hoped that the banks and tax authorities can reach agreement with the Dusanj brothers.