Administrators to be called in to Norwich nightclub

Assurances were given today that Project nightclub in Norwich will remain open while administrators try to find a buyer.

Assurances were given that Project nightclub in Norwich will remain open while administrators try to find a buyer.

The owners of Project nightclub, Luminar, will today breach its banking covenants, triggering its slide into administration.

Luminar, which also runs Liquid, Oceana and Lava & Ignite clubs in town centres across the UK, has been told by its lenders that they will not extend a recent period of leniency due to end today.

The chain invested �2m in a new club in the Riverside which opened in February creating 75 jobs.

A spokesman for Luminar said: 'They (Project) are still open and we are going to continue to trade, but the administrators will be trying to sell the company lock, stock and barrel.

'Halloween is a massive weekend for the club and Christmas is coming up so Project - and Liquid in Ipswich - will continue to trade.'

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He said that because the clubs were continuing to run there were no jobs at threat at the moment.

The group, which employs 3,000 full and part-time staff and operates 75 venues, said it will be left with no option but to call in administrators.

Its shares were suspended yesterday.

Luminar has suffered amid the financial gloom as its core market of 18 to 24-year-olds has been hit by high levels of youth unemployment. The smoking ban and changes in licensing laws to allow pubs to stay open longer have also hurt it.

It recorded losses of �198 million in the year to the end of February as sales dropped by 19pc to �137 million.

Its lenders - Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB and Barclays - threw it a lifeline in May when they agreed to waive banking covenants on a temporary basis to allow the business time to turn itself around. This period of leniency was extended in August but will expire tomorrow.

The group had been trying to drum-up more business by diversifying its offer, including holding Jongleurs comedy nights and introducing WooWoo cocktail bars next to its clubs. It had also been running more student nights and live DJs and acts to refresh its appeal

Trading in recent months had been more encouraging although its profit margins have been squeezed as it put on more promotions.