Rushmere shopping firm bust

Rushmere shopping centre in Craigavon is reportedly still trading after a company behind the complex went bust.

Administrators have been called in to handle Central Craigavon Ltd, a company which was set up in 2007.

It is understood it operated as the landlord for the retail complex.

It reportedly had interests in two other, smaller retail sites too.

In a statement quoted by the BBC, Stephen Cave, head of restructuring at Grant Thornton in Northern Ireland (the firm which has taken over as administrators) said: “Our immediate priority has been to ensure the shopping centres continue to trade as normal under the ultimate control of the administrators, with no operational impact for tenants or shoppers.

“We have and will continue to liaise with key stakeholders, as we manage the position and consider future options.”

The appointment of administrators comes after the most recent set of company accounts (for 2019) show that Central Craigavon Ltd had posted a pre-tax loss of £33m.

This was a radical reversal of fortunes on the previous year, when it posted a pre-tax profit of some £8m.

A decade ago it had been involved in a legal challenge around a planned expansion of Sprucefield.

Another company called Rushmere NI Ltd, linked to Central Craigavon Ltd and which shares the same directors, continues to exist as a dormant firm with no capital.

Besides administrator Paul Hearn, the other two Central Craigavon Ltd directors currently listed on the official company register are John Thomas Alexander Robinson of Lisburn, and Peter Arthur Hayes Robinson (c/o Grant Thornton).

They are both prolific businessmen, with over a dozen current directorships each spanning a hotel, residential outfit, and retail, both in Northern Ireland and the mainland UK.