By James Atkinson
Several wine suppliers are among the creditors of Justin and Georgia North's collapsed Sydney restaurant group, Becasse.
Becasse, Quarter 21 and Le Grand Café all finished trading on Saturday following the release last week of a report by Ferrier Hodgson, which was appointed as the group's voluntary administrator on June 7.
The report alleged the Becasse company and North Food Catering had likely been trading while insolvent from September last year.
The report said Samuel Smith & Son, Premium Wine Brands, McWilliam's Wines Group/Echelon Wine Partners and Cellarhand Consulting are all listed on Becasse's Personal Property Security Register.
Ferrier Hodgson said it had received information from Samuel Smith & Sons outlining the value of its claim as $1,408.59, while Cellarhand Consulting's is worth $5,745.41 and Premium Wine Brands' $11,101.58.
The administrators said they had also received Retention of Title claims from parties including Bibendum Wine ($9,526.26), Lion-Wine ($1,467.40), Nugan Estate ($2,438.51), Vinous ($6,838.88), Michael Hall Wines ($500) and Moet-Hennessy (unknown amount).
Ferrier Hodgson said that in the period leading up to its appointment, several creditors including Pernod Ricard Pacific, Cellarhand Consulting and Bibendum Wine were placing significant pressure on Becasse to make payment on its outstanding accounts.
Becasse had total trade payables as at May 25 of $855,143, of which 55 per cent ($467,228) was owed to creditors outside the normal 60-day trading terms.
"[This] demonstrates that Becasse had severe cash flow constraints restricting their ability to pay creditors," the administrators said.
"This is a key indicator of insolvency as it demonstrates that Becasse was unable to pay its debts as and when they fell due."
While wine distributor Samuel Smith & Son was not owed a lot of money by Becasse, NSW general manager Greg Pullen told TheShout he was saddened by the news.
"He [Justin North] is absolutely leading edge within the on-premise sector of the business," he said.