N Brown settles legal dispute with Allianz Insurance

Shares of Manchester-based online fashion and home goods retailer N Brown Group rose about 8% after it announced that full and final settlement has now been reached in respect of its ongoing legal dispute with Allianz Insurance Plc.

N Brown’s five core brands are JD Williams, Simply Be, Jacamo, Ambrose Wilson and Home Essentials and the group employs over 1,800 people across the UK.

The settlement relates to a claim issued against JD Williams & Company Limited by the insurer in January 2020 and JDW’s counterclaims in that litigation.

“The dispute related to significant amounts of redress paid to customers by JDW and the insurer in respect of certain historic insurance products, including payment protection insurance,” said N Brown.

Under the settlement, which is a negotiated settlement and made without admission of liability, JDW will pay the insurer a sum of £49.5m in full and final settlement of the dispute, below the sums claimed by the insurer (which exceeded £70m inclusive of interest and costs).

“A provision of £25.5m in respect of the claims by the insurer was recognised in the company’s balance sheet as at 27 August 2022.

“By the settlement, the dispute has been brought to an end.

The settlement removes a significant element of uncertainty and distraction for JDW and allows the company to focus on creating shareholder value through its core business activities as it continues its transformation.

The company has sufficient liquidity to meet the cash flow requirements of the settlement, including unsecured net cash of £82.9m as at 31 December 2022 as well as access to a RCF of £100m and overdraft of £12.5m, which are both fully undrawn as at 9 January 2023.

“Payment is expected to be transacted before the end of January 2023.

“After satisfying the settlement the company will retain a strong unsecured net cash position with material additional liquidity facilities remaining undrawn.”