Casual Dining Group set to appoint administrators

Tue, 19 May 2020 | ADMINISTRATION

Casual Dining Group, the company behind restaurant chains including Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Las Iguanas, has filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators. The notice provides the group with 10 working days’ protection from creditors.

The group runs around 250 restaurants across the UK, employing around 6,000 staff. Its restaurants have been hit by the coronavirus lockdown that has seen restaurants in the UK closed since late March.

It has hired advisory firm Alix Partners to allow it to assess its options, including a potential whole group administration, the administration of weaker chains or deals with landlords to close some outlets. CDG is controlled by private equity firm KKR.

Reports suggest that it will launch company voluntary arrangements (CVAs) for two of Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Las Iguanas, with the third being put into administration. The group’s smaller chains, which could be most at risk in a restructuring, include Belgo, Huxleys and Oriel. CDG sold off its tapas chain La Tasca earlier this year.

A CDG spokesperson said: “As is widely acknowledged, this is an unprecedented situation for our industry and, like many other companies across the UK, the directors of Casual Dining Group are working closely with our advisers as we consider our next steps.”

“These notifications are a prudent measure in light of the company’s position and the wider situation. These notifications will also protect the company from any threatened potential legal action from landlords while we review the detail of the government advice and formulate a plan for the company in these difficult times.”

In its most recent accounts, made up to the year ending May 26 2019, the group registered revenue of £23.7 million, a slight increase from the year prior, and gross profit of £1.8 million, up from £1.4 million the year before. At the time, the group has total assets of around £50 million.

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