Kate’s parents’ party firm leaves creditors £2.6m short after collapse

Friday, Jun 09, 2023

LONDON: The party supplier business founded by the Princess of Wales’s parents collapsed with a shortfall of around £2.6 million to suppliers, lenders and the taxman, according to administration filings.Party Pieces Holdings, which was founded by Carole and Michael Middleton in 1987, tumbled into administration last month. The company, which was immediately sold to entrepreneur James Sinclair in a pre-pack administration deal, blamed the impact of the pandemic on the party market and pressure from the cost-of-living crisis for its failure.

Party Pieces saw its revenues shrink to £3.2 million last year from £4.5 million in 2021, and slid to a £900,000 net loss before tax as a result. A report from administrators at Interpath Advisory said they were hired and oversaw the rescue sale after previous takeover attempts could not be agreed.The report said the firm had an estimated £197,739 worth of assets to return to preferential creditors.However, Party Pieces was £2.59 million short of what it needed to pay off its long list of debts, according to the filings. The company, which had only 12 employees at the time of its administration, owed £612,685 in tax.Its debts including an outstanding debt of £218,749 to Royal Bank of Scotland related to a coronavirus business interruption loan.

Meanwhile, trade creditors – which included Royal Mail, Google and Solihull Moors Football Club – were owed a total of £456,008. Party Pieces sells children’s party paraphernalia ranging from balloons to fancy dress costumes. Such was the success of the internet company that it made the Middletons into millionaires.Kate used to work for her parents’ firm but left the business in preparation for her life in the royal family. She was featured on the Party Pieces website in March 2010 when she posted some light-hearted comments about her childhood. A keen photographer, Kate also took pictures for the business.Kate’s sister Pippa has also worked for Party Pieces, on its online magazine The Party Times.