Ashurst and Hogan Lovells advising as tobacco supplier Palmer & Harvey enters administration

Ashurst and Hogan Lovells are advising on the administration of British tobacco supplier Palmer & Harvey (P&H).

Ashurst is advising accountant PWC, which has been appointed as administrator, with global restructuring head Giles Boothman as lead partner.

Hogan Lovells London restructuring partner Deborah Gregory is also advising PwC; Hogan Lovells has previously acted for P&H’s lenders while PwC had previously acted as P&H’s financial adviser.

PwC partners Matthew Callaghan, Ian Green and Zelf Hussein have been appointed as joint administrators.

The appointment was made by London High Court on application by the directors of Palmer & Harvey McLane. 

A statement released by the administrators confirmed that 2,500 staff have been made redundant with immediate effect out of a workforce of 3,400.

P&H supplied tobacco and cigarettes to a number of UK retailers, including Tesco and Costcutter.

According to reports the company agreed to a proposed rescue deal with private equity firm Carlyle last month. However, the proposed deal collapsed, sealing P&H’s fate.

PwC partner Callaghan said: “The Palmer & Harvey name has been a trusted partner for retailers and suppliers for nearly 100 years. This is a devastating blow for everyone who has been involved in the business. The administration team will focus on working with employees, clients and suppliers to facilitate a smooth and effective wind-down or transfer of operations over the next few weeks.”

Ashurst and Hogan Lovells also advised on the recent collapse of PR firm Bell Pottinger following the scandal over its work for the Gupta family in South Africa.

Ashurst is advising administrator BDO on Bell Pottinger’s administration with a team led by corporate partner Bruce Hanton and restructuring partner Olga Galazoula.

Hanton previously advised the PR company in 2012, when founder Lord Bell bought back the company from communications company Chime.

Hogan Lovells is advising Lloyds Banking Group as the agency’s biggest lender.

Ashurst and Hogan Lovells declined to comment.