Unsecured Kwik Save creditors, owed £16m, were furious to discover this week that they will not receive a penny following the collapse of the retail chain - while an investment vehicle owned by Paul Niklas and Brendan Murtagh, and former owner Somerfield, are expected to receive as much as £11m as the sole secured creditors.
A report issued this week by administrators KPMG revealed that Brabco 703, the Niklas and Murtagh-backed company, which owned the retail chain prior to its collapse in July, and fellow secured creditor Somerfield, would be the only parties to benefit from the sale of leases on 187 former Kwik Save stores by King Sturge, which is acting for KPMG.
Somerfield bought Kwik Save in 1998 but sold it in February 2006 to the Back To The Future consortium. It made a £7m investment in the chain this February as part of a commitment to help support it after it had been sold, but was understood to have written off the debt, according to a source close to Somerfield.
Irish entrepreneur Murtagh and Niklas bought 56 stores out of the ashes of the Kwik Save chain to set up a new grocery business, FreshXpress.
The news from KPMG means there will be no creditors' meeting, leaving the 283 unsecured creditors without an opportunity to question the Murtagh and Niklas as directors of debtor Brabco, together with the insolvency controller, KPMG, about the circumstances surrounding the company's failure.
The decision sparked fury. One major creditor, who asked not to be named, said he was now seeking to galvanise fellow creditors to demand a meeting. "We don't expect to receive anything save the personal satisfaction of confronting the Kwik Save management team," he admitted.
"Everybody is so pissed off because there were umpteen meetings between Kwik Save and the creditors for months leading up to the administration and the message was 'don't worry, stick with us'.
"People were misled by the persistent assurances the directors offered all along the way, which were that money was available.
"There's an awful lot of pain here. What everybody wants is some answers to how things got so bad."
Niklas this week defended the actions of the Brabco directors in the months between taking over the company and its demise.
"The business was in a terminal state, losing £2m a week. It was impossible to move forward.
"It would have taken £100m to turn it around and make it profitable and nobody had that kind of money so we had to let it go. It was a leasehold business with no assets. It was a harsh decision but it had to be done."
Big losers among the unsecured creditors include John Dennis, a Barnsley-based company that supplied the retailer with fruit and vegetables. It has gone into insolvency as a result of unpaid invoices totalling in excess of £1m.
Another victim of the débâcle was Spencers Drinks of Derbyshire, which went into administration owed over £102,000.
Other companies due significant amounts include Arla Foods, which is owed £319,000, and Premier Foods, owed £422,000. Creditors hoped to confirm a meeting by Friday.