Embattled retail conglomerate Baugur has lost its long-running battle to stave off bankruptcy.

Baugur was forced into the move after Reykjavik courts refused to grant an extension to a ‘moratorium’ of the company – similar to US-style Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Baugur owns stakes in a clutch of major high street names, including frozen food giant Iceland and House of Fraser. Its UK arm is already in administration.

“The court‘s ruling today is a disappointment to everyone at Baugur,” said chairman Kristin Johannesdottir.

“We believe the company fulfils all the conditions for the extension and that the restructuring plan was viable. However, following the ruling, we have no choice but to file for bankruptcy.”

He added: “The management and employees of Baugur have been working hard to save the company’s assets in cooperation with its creditors since the collapse of the Icelandic banking system in October 2008. The board of directors… would like to express gratitude to the employees and everyone else the company has had the pleasure of working with in recent years.“