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Friday, 23 December 2011

Luminar deal 'saves 3,000 jobs'

Banks pulled the plug on Luminar ? the firm behind the Oceana, Liquid and Lava & Ignite chains ? in October after running up debts of ?140million.

The banks themselves were owed ?80million and the company collapsed into administration.

But yesterday a consortium of leisure industry experts, led by former Luminar exec Peter Marks, bought the embattled outfit.

When bankers called time, Luminar owned 75 UK venues, including the Northampton nightspot where Nabila Nanfuka, 22, was crushed to death in October.

The chain was hit hard as youth unemployment rose to its highest level since records began, and laws introduced in 2005 allowing pubs to stay open longer put a squeeze on takings.

Mr Marks was still upbeat about the future.

He said: "I am delighted that we have been able to complete the acquisition of Luminar.

"There was always a solid core business within Luminar but, in common with many in the sector, the perfect storm of high debt, an under-performing tail and a lack of investment meant that the company could not survive the downturn when it came.

"The bulk of the estate is performing well, as are other privately-owned club and bar businesses.

"Luminar has a lot of good people and I am certain that with hard work, the right financial structure and an investment programme the company can look forward to a great future."

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