Holiday company Lowcost Travegroup has gone into administration with the loss of 120 jobs at its Crawley headquarters.
The firm’s shock shutdown is being blamed on increased competition, uncertainty ahead of the EU referendum, a more expensive Euro and the threat of terrorism.
The firm, whose head office is at Spectrum House on the Beehive Ring Road, near Gatwick, currently has 27,000 customers on holiday in resorts and another 110,000 people who have made bookings. It ceased trading on Friday.
Restructuring and recovery specialists Smith & Williamson and CMB Partners UK have been appointed joint administrators after what it calls ‘exhaustive attempts by the travel group’s directors to rescue the company.’
They say that all people currently on holiday through the group will be able to fly home as their flights have already been paid for.
They say ‘a small number’ who have not yet travelled may experience problems with their flights not being paid and ‘many will have problems as regards their hotel rooms not having been paid for.’
Lowcost Travelgroup, whose turnover last year was £500 million, also has offices in Spain, Switzerland and Poland.
In a statement, the administrators said: “The failure will affect many customers who have purchased flights or holidays, some of whom are on holiday in resorts and some of whom have not travelled as yet. All flights as regards those currently in resorts have been paid for and hence customers will be able to fly home when their holidays are over.”
Finbarr O’Connell of Smith & Williamson said: “The group experienced significant market headwinds in the run up to the EU referendum as holidaymakers delayed decisions.
“This was compounded by the Leave vote itself and the subsequent fall in value of the pound. Regrettably, in these extraordinary conditions, the directors had no option but to place Lowcosttravelgroup Limited into administration.
“Whilst we have not been appointed over the foreign subsidiaries which deal with the group’s customers we are aware that the directors of those companies are making all efforts to put useful and relevant information on the group website to assist customers to understand their individual positions.”
As well as the 120 job losses in Crawley, other staff in Poland, Switzerland and Majorca have also been made redundant.
Any customers who are currently on a Lowcostholiday, those who have booked a Lowcostholiday, and other creditors should visit the Lowcostholiday website at www.lowcostholidays.com for further information about their position, including details of how to submit claims.