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Fishing Republic issues warning over future as Angling Direct expands

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Contrasting fortunes; Fishing Republic has expressed fears for its future, while rival UK chain, Angling Direct, has been given the go-ahead for a £20m expansion.

As one of the UK’s largest fishing tackle chains was issuing a dire warning over its future, its biggest rival was announcing that it had raised £20 million to fund ambitious expansion plans.

Fishing Republic, which suspended trading in its shares on the London Stock Exchange in October, has warned that its failure to raise cash to keep it afloat could affect its ability to trade.

In sharp contrast, Angling Direct told investors at its annual general meeting on Friday that it was on track to accelerate its growth strategy.

Fishing Republic’s problems reached new heights earlier this year when a number of its major shareholders announced that they were no longer prepared to provide financial assistance to the group.

In an update to the Stock Exchange, Fishing Republic said that it is currently seeking to raise equity finance to fund its immediate and future working capital requirements. It added: “If the company fails to raise sufficient equity finance and no funding becomes available, there will be significant doubt as to the group’s ability to trade as a going concern.”

Fishing Republic, which has 14 retail stores primarily across the north of England, continues to trade only with the short-term support of its key creditors.

A further announcement is expected to be made before the end of the month.

Meanwhile, Angling Direct’s Chief Executive Officer, Darren Bailey, said that the additional funding would take the retailer to the ‘next level’. Plans include opening 20 new stores during 2019 and 2020, the continued roll-out of native language sites across Europe and the expansion of its own brand, Advanta.

“We have made significant progress since joining the London Stock Exchange AIM market last year, including the opening of nine new stores in the UK over 15 months, upgrading our warehouse facilities, enhancing our e-commerce offering and the introduction of native language sites.

“The proceeds from this placing will enable Angling Direct to take business to the next level as we seek to extensively increase our UK footprint and expand into Europe through our successful online business.”

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