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Uvine into administration; MD declared bankrupt

Published:  23 July, 2008

By Stuart Peskett
Uvine, the wine exchange company that acts as an intermediary for the buying and selling of wine, went into administration on Tuesday - with its MD, Christopher Burr MW, declared bankrupt.

The company, which was set up in 1999, brought in administrators Elwell, Watchorn & Saxton to handle affairs after Uvine's three overseas-based investors effectively pulled the plug on the business.

Burr told Harpers that administrators had been brought in to look for a continuation of the business', and that he had been considering this course of action for the past 12 months.

Asked why Uvine was in its current position, he said: We've been looking for further investment for about a year. It's a factor of overheads and turnover. The business is sound, but it's too high cost, with not enough turnover to support it - the usual problem with a small business.'

Burr also admitted that as well as five members of the Uvine team being made redundant (six, counting his own resignation), he did not know' whether people who have sold wine through Uvine but have yet to receive payment will be reimbursed.

Administrator Graham Wolloff, of Elwell, Watchorn & Saxton, said: The company had four directors, three of whom are based overseas, and who were, in effect, non-executive investors. Christopher Burr was effectively the executive director, managing the business on behalf of them.

The company has wine in store which belongs to the clients,' said Wolloff, but the warehouses store it by rotation number, so we're cross-matching the stock list with the rotation numbers at the moment. The issue is going to be for people whose stock has been sold but not had their funds paid to them by Uvine. It's going to be over 1 million.'

Wolloff added that he was currenty talking to a number of people' who are interested in taking over the exchange side of the business.