Smith & Williamson joint administrators of four Park First companies

04 Jul 2019 –– Company

The Park First Group confirms that Park First Freeholds Limited, Help Me Park Gatwick Limited, Park First Glasgow Rentals Limited and Park First Gatwick Rentals Limited (the “Companies”) have today been placed into Administration. Finbarr O’Connell, Adam Stephens, Emma Thompson and Andy McGill of Smith & Williamson LLP have been appointed as Joint Administrators. Both the Joint Administrators and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have also issued press releases which are available on their websites. The Directors of the Companies have taken the decision to commence the administration based on advice from their professional advisers in the interests of investors in its car parking schemes.

Park First and Car Parking

Park First operates car parks neighbouring Gatwick and Glasgow airports. Those sites have provided c. 6,000 car parking spaces to travellers for a number of years. Major improvements have been made at the sites, including the installation of up to date car parking equipment and infrastructure, since the sites came under Park First’s management. Throughout the period of the Administration the car parks will continue to be operated without interruption. Customers who have bookings at the sites will continue to be able to use the sites and Park First will be accepting new bookings.

Interaction with the FCA

The Park First car parking schemes were first set up to provide investors with an opportunity to own and receive income from spaces within car parks neighbouring popular airports. The FCA took the view that the schemes were collective investment schemes, a form of regulated financial investment.

Park First does not accept that this is the case. Park First took legal advice prior to the offering of the original schemes.

In December 2017, in order to address the concerns raised with it by the FCA and with a view to removing uncertainty in the operation of the car parking schemes, Park First launched a restructuring of the car park schemes. The FCA was fully informed of this restructuring. The restructuring provided investors with the opportunity to receive a repayment in respect of their investment (Buy Back) or to continue their investment under the terms of a new lease arrangement (described as the Lifetime Lease). Most investors have continued with their parking investment under the Lifetime Lease.

Administration and CVA

It has now become clear that a further restructuring of the car parking schemes will be necessary. Park First’s Group has committed c.£33 million to support the restructuring proposals which will be developed through a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) and put to the Companies’ creditors by the Joint Administrators. The Directors of the Companies will work closely with the Joint Administrators in preparing these proposals. The Directors intend the Administration to be an interim measure to allow the CVA proposals to be prepared and put to creditors.

Toby Whittaker, Director of Park First Freeholds Limited commented “The Directors are committed to working closely with the Administrators to prepare CVA proposals for the benefit of the Companies’ creditors. Some £33 million has been committed to support this. It is the Directors’ firm intention that the car parks will return to being run for the benefit of Lifetime Leaseholders as soon as possible. In the meantime I am pleased to confirm that customers can continue to use the car parks which will be operating fully throughout this period.

Useful links you can access

1. a very useful Q&A with regard to the administrations by using the following link https://smithandwilliamson.com/media/5242/qa-07-05-2019.pdf

2. press releases issued by the Joint Administrators and the FCA by using the following link. Joint Administrators https://smithandwilliamson.com/en/newsroom/smith-williamson-joint-administrators-of-four-park-first-companies/

FCA https://www.fca.org.uk/news/news-stories/park-first-limited-information-investors

3. the Companies’ website by using the following link https://www.parkfirst.com/

4. the Joint administrators website by using the following link https://smithandwilliamson.com/park-first/

You can email the Joint administrators by using the following email address ParkFirst@smithandwilliamson.com