Ex-Wilko boss defends £77m divis before store’s collapse
The granddaughter of Wilko’s founder has defended the firm’s multi-million dividend payouts in the run-up to its collapse.
Lisa Wilkinson, who helped manage her family’s discount retail empire for 20 years, has dismissed criticisms of the £77m dished out to former shareholders, first reported by The Mail on Sunday.
The payments were made in the past decade, including during years when the firm made a loss.
She told The Sunday Times: ‘The board checked… there was sufficient cash, we went through the right governance, the auditors checked it off.’ Wilkinson added: ‘Is there a bit of me lying awake at night saying I wish we’d never taken a penny of dividends out?
‘It might have made us survive a couple of months longer. What we have taken out really wouldn’t have made a difference.’
Signing off?: 12,000 staff members are on the verge of becoming unemployed and there is a £50m black hole in the company’s pension pot
But the payouts have sparked fury from unions, with 12,000 staff members on the verge of becoming unemployed and a £50m black hole in the company’s pension pot.
Private equity firm M2 Capital made a last-minute £90m bid for Wilko at the weekend and pledged to retain all jobs for two years.