'Brexit carving into cosmetic surgery market'
Two cosmetic surgery companies have gone into administration amid "Brexit uncertainty", with debts of £6.5m between them.
Combine Opco and TFHC operated from more than 30 clinics and hospitals across the UK.
The business and assets have been acquired by a single entity – The Transform Hospital Group – and the services carry on.
It said staff and patients would be unaffected by "challenging" conditions.
Describing the companies that previously ran the business as among the UK's "leading providers" of cosmetic surgery, administrators handling the move cited a lack of Brexit "clarity".
They said the firms had found it hard to adapt to consumers spending less on "discretionary items" considered "high cost".
Administrators also said the companies had been facing a "substantial risk" of unaffordable "penalties" linked to "HMRC's decision to deem certain services" subject to VAT, despite the firms receiving "professional advice" that such provision was VAT-exempt.
Combine Opco ran 13 clinics and was registered in Surrey, while TFHC ran 20 and was registered in Manchester.
The former also worked out of Dolan Park Hospital in Worcestershire, and the latter out of The Pines Cosmetic Surgery Hospital in Wythenshawe, Manchester. The Transform Hospital Group is registered in Manchester.
The two companies which previously ran the business, and The Transform Hospital Group, are connected to the Aurelius group of companies.
The move to the single entity happened under what is known as a pre-pack administration; an insolvency procedure in which a company arranges to move its assets to another owner before administrators are officially appointed.
Pre-pack administrations are perfectly legal and can enable a business to continue, thereby saving jobs. But it also means debts are left behind.
The £6.5m debt across the two older companies includes £600,000 in unpaid tax, and, in the case of Combine Opco, £125,000 owed to Bromsgrove District Council in business rates.
One of the principal Aurelius companies has an annual revenue of £3bn. It said it would not be commenting.
- Latest news from the West Midlands
TFHC was created in 2015 and Combine Opco in 2016 when two other companies went into administration with debt. The business was also sold in a pre-pack administration deal.
According to administrators, the debt then was a result of the fallout from the PIP breast implant scandal and a dispute with HMRC over the extent of VAT liabilities in relation to cosmetic surgery.
A spokesperson for The Transform Hospital Group said: "Our business has gone through a pre-pack administration process to restructure the company into a single entity.
"Against a challenging macro-economic backdrop, this was seen as a necessary move to place the business on firm financial footing. This means we will be able to continue working with our suppliers for the long term.
"There is absolutely no impact on patients who have had, or who are due to have their surgery with us. All aftercare packages remain in place and patients should attend their scheduled appointments as usual."
The spokesperson added all employees had been transferred to the new operating company.
Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, and sign up for local news updates direct to your phone.