London’s long-established independent laundry, Bates of London, has closed its doors and gone into receivership for the second time in two years. Managing director Matthew Pantlin told LCN: “We were hammered by Covid, with no help from the Government or our landlords and then Ulkraine happened and utilities, most particularly gas, went through the roof.”

He added that Bates then lost work to a major national chain of laundries that undercut Bates when it had to increase prices to cover its costs. “It was a vicious circle. We needed cash for stock and we needed customers to generate cash to purchase the stock. I decided to leave it until the end of February to see how things went and then I had no alternative but to make the decision to go into receivership.”

The receivers tried to find a purchaser but in the current climate, unfortunately, there were no takers, added Pantlin. The company went into receivership on 3 March.  

The last time it happened in 2021, Pantlin went into pre-pack adminstration and bought back the company hoping to turn things around post-Covid. Pantlin explained then: “The choice we were faced with, was whether to be put into administration – or get advice voluntarily? Covid debts kept increasing so I sought the advice of Leonard Curtis, a large professional company, that considered our employees and creditors in how to keep the business going.”

 “We wanted to buy back from the Administrators. The sale was advertised and we invested in buying back the company and won the bid against some competition. So, we retain the rights to our trading name of Bates of London. The equipment was owned separately on finance.

“During all this, we did not stop trading. In fact, many customers weren’t even aware of what was happening. We never failed a customer. During the crisis I delivered work myself, as did our head of operations Mourad and Nicola Pantlin (my wife) who was hands-on in production as well as fielding calls and obviously supporting me!”

Now, two years on: “Who knew Ukraine would happen?” said Pantlin. “Fortunately, our managers have mostly found work elsewhere in the industry. Production staff have also mostly gone into laundry roles elsewhere.”

Meanwhile, said Pantlin, ex-customers have asked him for help to find other laundries that can accommodate them. “I have found some temporary solutions but am worried that there is not enough laundry capacity now to deal with the amount of hospitality laundry out there.” Bates, he said, was processing up to 1 million pieces a week.

An online auction conducted by Marriott & Co, machinery and business assets valuers, is scheduled to take place from 3pm on Wednesday 17 May of the complete laundry facilities of Bates Laundries Limited (in Administration) t/a Bates of London and others to include:

• Three Cochran boilers
• Three Lavatec 11 and 14 stage batch washers and presses
• Twelve Lavatec, Passat & Gematex batch dryers
• Five Cherry Tree washer-extractors
• Three Gematex storage towers
• Three Weir towel folders
• Lapauw, Girbau, Weir and Biko folding and ironing equipment (five complete lines)
• Various dry cleaning and garment ironing equipment
• A large quantity of linen stock and laundry cages
• Various associated laundry plant and equipment

The lotting of this sale is currently in progress and a full catalogue is expected to be available online in the first week of April 2023. Please email for any additional information or to book an appointment to view.

Bidding closes: From 3pm on Wednesday 17 May (NOT 5 April as a previous version of this story said).

The Administrators are Quantuma Advisory of Holborn, London.