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Circumnavigation race operation in trouble

OCT. 13 -- The company established by Sir Chay Blyth that puts on the Global Challenge Round-the-Worldyacht race has appointed administrators to manage its assets.

Challenge Business International, based in Southampton, England, this week appointed Nigel Morrison and Richard Hawes, partners in Grant Thornton UK, as administrators, according to a press release. “Our intentions are to establish shortly whether there is a possibility for a going concern sale of the business or whether it will be necessary to realize the assets of the company separately,” Morrison says in the release.

A “going concern sale” is the sale of a business under the assumption that it will continue to operate for the foreseeable future. The process of administration happens when someone is called into a company to run it and try to salvage it from bankruptcy.

“The business model for the company required that the Global Challenge series attracted heavyweight ‘title holder’ sponsorship, which proved impossible for the last race in 2004-’05,” Morrison says in the release. “The company has worked hard to find a sponsor for the next race in 2008-’09, but with no success it was forced to announce the postponement of the next Global Challenge race. Cashflow became difficult to manage.”

Last month Challenge Business International announced it would postpone the 2008 round-the-world race because it did not have a title sponsor. The company, which has assets including18 racing yachts, also organizes the Round Britain and Ireland Challenge and the Transat Challenge. The round-the-world race has been run four times since 1992.

? Jason Fell