UK  

Storage companies wound up in court

Storage companies wound up in court

Self storage provider Store First Limited and three related companies have been wound up in the High Court.

On April, 30 2019 Store First Limited; Store First Blackburn Limited; Store First St Helens Limited; and SFM Services Limited were wound up "in the public interest", while a further company, Store First Midlands Ltd, will continue in operation.

The petition to wind up Store First Midlands Ltd was dismissed after it transferred a storage centre it owned in Nottingham to Store First St Helens Limited. 

Store First Midlands has agreed with the court to no longer sell or market store pods as an investment or otherwise.

Meanwhile the official receiver has been appointed as liquidator and is responsible for dealing with the assets and liabilities of the four companies.

Pay Store Limited, which has been managing the storage centres, will continue to provide services to allow people to store and remove items while a longer-term solution is found for the business, the Insolvency Service stated. 

In a statement the Store First companies said: "Store First is delighted to confirm that an out of court agreement has been reached with the secretary of state for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which allows the Store First storage business to continue in operation with the current management company, Pay Store, running the operations of all its 15 storage centres.

"Store First has agreed with the secretary of state that the original property companies and the former management company will be wound up, but the petition against Store First Midlands Limited has been dismissed."

Store First bought and developed purpose-built self-storage buildings on 15 sites around the UK. 

Storage units on the 15 sites were divided up into different sized store pods before being offered as investment products.

Between March 2011 and August 2016 the company sold approximately 22,600 store pods, securing £209m worth of investments.

The hearing to wind up Store First Limited, Store First Blackburn Ltd, Store First St Helens Ltd, Store First Midlands Ltd and SFM Services Ltd started on April 15, 2019 at the Manchester District Registry of the High Court.

The 15 storage centres in question were located in Blackburn, Burnley, Rochdale, Barnsley, Liverpool, Ellesmere Port, Wakefield, Glasgow, Preston, Derby, Leeds, St Helens, Manchester, Northampton and Nottingham.

An original press release on Store First was withdrawn by the Insolvency Service due to a dispute over its content.

amy.austin@ft.com