Profits rise by third at Green’s retail empire despite £28m loss on store sale


Taveta Investments, whose brands include Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis, Burton and Evans, also wrote off £216.8 million on the sale of the failed high street chain.

The accounts cast another light on the financial impact that the £1 sale of BHS to the Retail Acquisitions consortium in March last year had on Sir Philip’s retail group.

According to evidence given to the joint parliamentary committee into the collapse of BHS, which slumped into administration in April after the consortium failed to turn the company around, Arcadia became increasingly determined to stop subsidising BHS.

The rest of the retail group, whose prize asset is Topshop, the youth fashion retailer, remained in rude health. Pre-tax profits increased to £151 million from £118 million and turnover for continuing operations was broadly flat at £2.1 billion for the year to August 29 last year.

Despite the loss on the sale of BHS in the accounts, Sir Philip could recoup about £35 million as a secured creditor of the collapsed chain.

The accounts, published a week before Sir Philip is scheduled to give evidence to MPs over the sale of BHS, also shed light on some of the complicated financial dealings behind the sale.

The joint committee heard on Wednesday that Retail Acquisitions was apparently due to receive £8.5 million from the £45 million sale of Marylebone House, the retailer’s headquarters, to the Dellal family. However, Sir Philip was said to have pulled the deal and sold to a higher bidder for £50 million, compensating Retail Acquisitions with £10 million.

Taveta’s accounts show that Arcadia bought Marylebone House for £53 million despite Wilton Equity, also controlled by Sir Philip’s family, listing the value at £37.5 million.

Separately, the accounts show that Taveta sold BHS’s Ealing store to Thackeray Estates, controlled by Brett Palos, Sir Philip’s stepson, for £6.9 million days before BHS was sold, despite receiving several offers. The sale price was informed by an independent valuation, the accounts state.

No dividends were paid by Taveta. The payment of more than £400 million of dividends to BHS shareholders in the Noughties, most of which went to Sir Philip’s family, has been at the centre of much of the outrage at circumstances surrounding the failure of BHS.

The Swedish connection

A Swedish associate of Dominic Chappell has been thrust into the limelight over the failure of BHS amid questions about the transfer of £1.5 million out of the business shortly before it collapsed.

Lennart Henningson, who was a director of the Retail Acquisitions consortium, is among those called to appear before MPs who are keen to question him over his ownership of BHS Sweden, which received the funds. Most of the money was paid back after an argument between Mr Chappell, the consortium head, and Darren Topp, BHS’s chief executive, in which Mr Chappell allegedly threatened to kill Mr Topp when he was branded a thief.

Under questioning from Jeremy Quin, MP, on Wednesday, Mr Chappell said that Mr Henningson was the sole owner and director of the company at the time of the transfer.

Mr Quin said last night of the transfer to BHS Sweden: “That is just one of many questions to which we do not yet have a satisfactory answer but which will be pursued.”

Mr Henningson could not be reached for comment.