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Wed 22nd May 2013 - Breaking News - Turnaround at La Tasca is complete
Turnaround at La Tasca complete: La Tasca, the Spanish tapas business led by Simon Wilkinson that went through a restructuring in 2012, has reported that its turnaround has been completed. The management team at La Tasca is approaching the end of the first quarter of their third year since taking over the ailing business. The company reports that four years of sales decline has been halted, guest recommendation scores are at an industry-leading all-time high and their company average score for the Council Hygiene Scores on doors scheme is well above four out of five. This week sees the launch of the brand’s “Stage Two new La Tasca design” at the Trafford Centre and its first new acquisition in New Brighton is performing way above expectations. During the last two years the current team has “radically overhauled every facet of the business, and most importantly the quality of the food has changed beyond recognition”. La Tasca’s unbranded concept Bellota in Brighton is performing very well - the introduction of the first stand-alone Cava Bar in the UK has seen cava sales rise from 2.6% of sales mix to 26.2%. Wilkinson said: “Every member of the La Tasca family has contributed to this very quick turnaround of the business. When you look at other companies that have had a radical turnaround within our industry the norm for traction is around three years so to achieve this in just over two years is a massive achievement for the team. These are very exciting times for the business, rather than closing down sites we are now opening alongside competitors and taking market share. We are also about to embark on a comprehensive roll-out of our new look within all three concepts across the existing estate as well as looking for acquisitions.” La Tasca reported a £4,673,000 operating loss at its the 64-strong estate in the last full year before it entered a Voluntary Agreement that saw the company shut 23 sites and vary terms on other leases. The operating loss occurred in the year to 26 February 2012 when turnover was £50,193,000 – there was also exceptional operating items of £7,426,000, including impairment charges of £6,413,000, to create an overall pre-tax loss and pre-interest loss of £11,228,00. (The year before it had lost £7,922,000 on turnover of £58,457,000.) The Company Voluntary Arrangement took effect on 29 September 2012 – it was approved by 85.2% of its unsecured creditors. La Tasca currently has banking facilities in place through to 30 September 2014. The company reported its financial covenants are currently set at a level the directors feel are suitable for the business. The CVA also saw a rent reduction on 19 sites. Sites the company left behind in the CVA were producing annual losses in excess of £2m. La Tasca is owned by Icelandic bank Kaupthing and German’s Commerzbank.

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