Monday 19 August 2019

Patisserie warns it will go under without capital injection

Troubled: Cake and cafe business Patisserie has two Patisserie Valerie cafes in Ireland
Troubled: Cake and cafe business Patisserie has two Patisserie Valerie cafes in Ireland

William Mathis

Cake and cafe business Patisserie Holdings has found a "material shortfall" between its reported financial numbers and the current state of its books, and said it can't stay in business without more capital.

After an investigation, the troubled UK chain is assessing all options to continue operating, Patisserie's board said yesterday in a filing.

The company, known for its Patisserie Valerie cafes (two are in Ireland), suspended its chief financial officer Chris Marsh on Wednesday because of potentially fraudulent accounting irregularities.

"Without an immediate injection of capital, the directors are of the view that there is no scope for the business to continue trading in its current form," according to the filing.

The company, owned in part by British restaurant entrepreneur Luke Johnson, will assess all options available to keep the company in operation, according to the filing. The shares have been suspended since Wednesday.

UK tax authorities in September filed a court order seeking £1.14m (€1.3m) from Stonebeach Ltd, an operating subsidiary of Patisserie Holdings, the company said in a separate statement.

The filing cites a hearing date of October 31, and the company and its advisers are speaking with HM Revenue and Customs about the matter, it said.

"We are all deeply concerned about this news and the potential impact on the business," said Mr Johnson, a former owner of London's Ivy restaurant who serves as chairman of Patisserie Holdings.

"We are determined to understand the full details of what has happened and will communicate these to investors and stakeholders as soon as possible."

The disclosure of the irregularities comes amid a crisis in the UK's casual-dining business, with steakhouse chain Gaucho Group filing for insolvency earlier this year, after chains like Jamie's Italian, Byron Hamburgers and Prezzo closed sites.


Irish Independent

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