Billionaire Sir Richard Branson is facing fines after two of his companies, Virgin Entertainment Asia and Virgin Retail, which control the Virgin Megastores chain of entertainment shops, failed to present their accounts to Companies House.
However, the “late filing” penalties are unlikely to be too onerous for the tycoon, whose airlines, mobile phone and media businesses make him one of the richest men in the UK. The maximum fine for missing the deadline is 1,000.
The last set of accounts presented for Virgin Entertainment Asia (VEA), which includes the entire Megastores business, revealed a gloomy picture. It made an operating loss of 112m in the 14 months to the end of March 2004 due to escalating costs at the retail chain and the cost of reorganisation. The company vowed to break even in the financial year 2006/07.
A spokesman for Virgin Retail, a subsidiary of VEA, could give no explanation for the failure to present the accounts for 2004/5, which the companies regulator says should have been received by April this year.
A Companies House operative says: “It is in arrears. It will receive a penalty. If it does not deliver the accounts, other sanctions might be in play.” He points out that Virgin Retail can appeal against any fine if it has good reasons for the delay. If the accounts are presented this month, the fines could be as low as 500 for each set.
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