Published: Tue, October 08, 2019
Money | By Brett Sutton

Pizza Express 'hires financial advisers' ahead of crunch talks about crippling debt

Pizza Express 'hires financial advisers' ahead of crunch talks about crippling debt

The restaurant chain's most recent accounts apparently show that it was in £1.1 billion debt at the end of previous year, which works out at £1.6million per restaurant.

Pizza Express is reportedly seeking urgent talks with its creditors, placing the future of the district's restaurants in question.

The company, which was bought by Chinese private equity firm Hony Capital in 2014, has to pay the first instalment of its repayments, worth £465 million in secured bonds, by August 2021.

Pizza Express owes more than £1bn.

The restaurant chain has hired advisers at corporate finance firm Houlihan Lokey to prepare for debt talks with creditors amid hard trading conditions for casual dining chains in the UK.

Jamie Oliver's Italian chain also filed for insolvency in May this year, with all but three of the TV chef's 25 United Kingdom restaurants shutting it's doors.

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Nonetheless, not too long ago Pizza Categorical reported a zero.5 per cent rise in whole gross sales for the United Kingdom and Eire with like-for-like gross sales broadly flat at zero.2 per cent up.

Fears have been raised over the future of Pizza Express.

Representatives from Houlihan Lokey Inc declined to comment when approached by Bloomberg.

Pizza Express is said to be the latest major restaurant chain struggling with the tough conditions on the high street.

"Unless they can get enough suitable deals informally with landlords and other creditors, then a Company Voluntary Arrangement, most recently used by Jamie's Italian, Prezzo and Byron Burger, may well be on the cards".

A third tweeted: "I AM DEVASTATED ABOUT PIZZA EXPRESS".

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