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Wed 10th Oct 2012 - Breaking News
Café Rouge operator reports turnover up but pre-tax losses increase to £19.7m; operating profit stable at just under £40m; Giles Thorley leaves the board: Café Rouge, Strada and Bella Italia operator Tragus, the UK’s second largest privately owned licensed restaurant company with 299 sites in the UK, has reported turnover increased 3.2 per cent to £286.2m in the year to 27 May 2012 but like-for-likes sales declined by 0.9 per cent due to increased promotional activity during the period. The company’s losses increased to £19,318,000 from £14,546,000 the year before. The company opened 15 new restaurants, refurbished 29 units and closed 11 sites that were underperforming or reached the end of their lease term – the company plans to open ten sites in the current year. Operating profit stood at £39,714,000 compared to £40,847,000 the year before as interest costs increased to £24.1m compared to £21.1m the year before. Net debt stood at £314.9m compared to £324.4m the year before. Tragus stated in Companies House documents: “The group continued to grow sales in a difficult economic climate. In addition, investment was made in the refurbishment of the Strada brand and customer service initiatives. During the period the group agreed amendments to its banking facilities – as a result of this amendment the group has geared the appropriate level of funds to invest in its business and brand until the refinancing of facilities in mid-2015.”  The company reported that “investment into growing the estate has proved successful” with average Cash Return on Investment in line with expectations on new sites opened during the last three years which have been trading for more than six months. Tragus chief executive Graham Turner, who spent seven years in the role, was replaced in August by former managing director of Costa Coffee John Derkach. Turner oversaw operating profit growth from £17m to last year’s £40.8m during his time at the company, which has been owned by private equity firm Blackstone since 2006. Tragus refinanced its debt in March this year with Blackstone investing a further £15m in the company. Meanwhile, former Punch Taverns chief executive Giles Thorley has stepped down from the board along with Joseph Baratta. Andrea Haleri has joined the board.  
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