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Thu 23rd Jan 2014 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

JD Wetherspoon like-for-likes hit double digits in the ten most recent days but performance remains ‘enigmatic’: JD Wetherspoon like-for-like sales growth hit double digits in the ten days until 19 January compared to a period last year when the UK was hit by snow. However, Deutsche Bank leisure analyst Geof Collyer has argued that Wetherspoon results remained as “enigmatic as ever” with margins forecast to be down. He said: “There is always a twist with Wetherspoon and margins are now forecast to be down – again – with guidance of between 8.1% to 8.3% for the year. On the positive side, Wetherspoon has started buying in some of the freeholds of its leases, reducing the average cost of carry by around £200,000 per £5m of freeholds bought back. We expect the group to continue to do this while the property market allows, and are forecasting circa £35m of buy-ins over the next three years. The group has locked in the long-term cost of £400m of its debt out to 2023, through a series of swaps that will cap interest costs below 3.8%. This should result in another step down in the cost of debt in 2017. On the negative side, returns are still fading, despite the increase in development capex. This may in part be explained by a more equal targeting of the freehold/leasehold mix of new sites. Over the next five years, we expect on- and off-balance sheet debt to increase by over 60% but with EBITDAR only growing by circa 36%. This is the third trading outlook in a row that we have downgraded forecasts over the past five months. Over the same period, the shares have risen by nearly 10%, proving that too many people are still just looking at the like-for-likes growth and assuming that it will translate into better profit performance. We are maintaining our 695p price target. The performance remains as enigmatic as ever.”

Industry News:

First Propel Multi Club Conference of 2014 open to bookings: The first Propel Multi Club Conference of 2014, to be held on Thursday 13 March at the Lancaster London Hotel, Lancaster Gate, central London, is now open for bookings. Multi-site pub, restaurant and foodservice companies can claim up to two free places each. E-mail to reserve places.

Propel Quarterly spring edition out first week in March: The spring edition of the must-read-and-keep Propel Quarterly magazine is published in the first week of March. To advertise, e-mail Sharon Dickinson on

Just Eat to launch IPO within months: Online takeaway company Just Eat is to launch an initial public offering in the UK by May with a valuation of up to £900m. The UK-based company operates in 13 countries and has appointed JP Morgan and Redpoint Ventures as advisers on the float, according to The Financial Times. Just Eat is backed by a group of four private equity firms.

Hotel Chocolat looks to sell equity stake: Hotel Chocolat is looking to sell between £30m and £40m of equity and has hired PricewaterhouseCoopers to explore market appetite for a stake in the business which is valued at around £100m. The money is intended to allow an expansion of its casual dining business, expansion into Asia and allow founders Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris to take cash out of the business. The business has recently opened Roast and Conch cafés, which serve freshly roasted cocoa-based drinks and food.

Scottish pubs urged to serve smaller measures: Scotland’s bars and pubs are being urged to promote the sale of smaller measures of wine. Public health minister Michael Matheson said 125ml measures should be made more widely available. The Scottish government and the drinks industry have joined together to promote a voluntary campaign for more responsible drinking. Matheson said tackling Scotland’s difficult relationship with alcohol was one of the government’s key priorities. He said that pubs and bars often only sold wine in medium (175ml) and large (250ml) measures. This meant that people could end up drinking more than they realised, the minister said.

Cambridge gives pubs stronger protection: Pubs in Cambridge have been given more protection by the local council from developers who had exploited a loophole to order the bulldozers in. Although rules governing the redevelopment of pub sites were introduced in 2012, these could be got around by simply demolishing the building, and then arguing there was no existing pub to protect. Until now, no planning permission was needed to demolish a pub, unless it was in a conservation area. Now the city council has imposed controls known as “article four directions”, which require any developer to apply for and secure planning permission before demolition can take place.

Tim Martin – pubco regulation would hit family firms: JD Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin has criticised proposals to regulate relations between pub companies and their tenants. Martin told City AM that although he thinks Punch Taverns and Enterprise have not treated some tenants well, tighter regulation would punish family-run companies, who do a good job and try to be fair. “The industry has been hammered by the supermarkets,” he said, adding: “I would rather see equal taxes for pubs and supermarkets to address this gross imbalance, which ultimately causes more problems, than more regulation.”

McDonald’s accused of tax evasion in France: McDonald’s has been accused of evading tax in France. Around 80% of its 1,300 restaurants in France are run by franchisees. They pay a 4% of turnover royalty fee and rent equivalent to 10% to 15% of turnover to McDonald’s subsidiaries based in Switzerland and Luxembourg. It is claimed that £1.8bn has left France in this way since 2009.

Land Securities cheers Trinity Kitchen success: The property company and developer Land Securities has trumpeted the success of its innovative “shopping mall street food” concept Trinity Kitchen in Leeds, which it said was attracting an average of more than 25,000 visitors a week. Trinity Kitchen, part of the Trinity Leeds shopping centre, which opened in October last year, features seven permanent restaurants, cafes and bars, including Notes, Pho, Tortilla and Chicago Rib Shack, and a changing monthly roster of five of the UK’s best street food vans. The street food operators are “curated” by Richard Johnson, the food journalist and broadcaster behind the emerging British Street Food Awards. Land Securities said across its retail portfolio, like-for-like voids and units in administration were down to 3.7% at 31 December 2013, against 4.1% at 30 September 2013. Land Securities’ chief executive, Robert Noel, said: “In retail, there is continued demand for good locations, as evidenced by the increased occupancy levels in our properties, and, in particular, there is strong demand in food and beverage.”

MPs honoured with Beer Champions award: MPs who champion Britain’s beer industry, especially those who helped secure last year’s historic cut in beer duty, are being honoured today, with a unique award in Parliament. More than 100 MP “Beer Champions” are being presented with a new “Champion” beer brewed especially for the occasion. The special award is a joint initiative from the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) all of whom wanted to recognise the role of MPs who supported Britain’s national drink during 2013, especially for the their support in scrapping the Beer Duty Escalator, which lead to the cut in Beer Duty last year. All three bodies have joined forces again this year, campaigning for a freeze in duty in this year’s Budget on 19 March.

Company News:

Freehold of BrewDog site in Shepherds Bush offered for £1.25m: The freehold of the site at Goldhawk Road, Shepherds Bush Green in West London tenanted by a BrewDog bar is being offered by agent Fleurets with a guide price of £1.25m. BrewDog has a 20-year lease from 31st July 2013 on a current rent of £70,000 a year to 30th July 2014, rising to £75,000 in years two, three and four, up to and including 30 July 2017. Year five will see a rise to £80,000, up to and including 30 July 2018, reflecting a net initial yield of 5.3%, rising to a yield of 5.7% and then 6%. The next rent review is due on 31 July 2018. The property is a four storey end-of-terrace building, with apartments to the upper floor let on 999-year leases from 1993 at a peppercorn rent only.

Busaba Eathai closes Naamyaa cafe in Islington: Busaba Eathai, the Thai restaurant chain founded by Alan Yau and chaired by Stephen Gee, has closed its Naamyaa Bangkok cafe site in Islington, North London. The company opened Naamyaa, an all-day Asian cafe, in Islington in November 2012. It said at the time: “The second brand will enhance the company’s growth prospects by increasing the number of suitable locations for future openings.” According to reports, the existing site in Islington and two planned sites in Shoreditch and Kingston are to become Busaba outlets. The site’s website says: “Unfortunately, Naamyaa Cafe is now closed until further notice. We would like to thank all of our loyal customers for their support and are sorry for any inconvenience caused.”

Itsu to launch in New York later this year: Itsu, the brand set up by Pret A Manger founder Julian Metcalfe, is to launch in New York later this year. The news came in an interview Metcalfe gave to the Financial Times in which he talks about Metcalfe’s Food Company, co-owned with 28-year-old former investment banker Robert Jakobi. The company produces items such as Thai noodle pots, honey-soaked cashews and chocolate-covered rice cake and is turning over £10m a year. It sells Itsu and Skinny branded snacks to supermarket groups such as J Sainsbury and Waitrose. The FT article suggested that Metcalfe is copying a strategy pursued by other popular chains such as Starbucks, PizzaExpress and Nando’s. “We don’t need to spend much on marketing these because everyone knows the Itsu restaurant chain,” Jakobi claimed. Itsu has 41 outlets and two restaurants in the UK. Metcalfe is planning overseas expansion, launching the company’s low carbohydrate, “good fat” products in Spain, Belgium, France and the Netherlands , to be followed by the United States. Jakobi went into partnership with Metcalfe after making persistent approaches. He told the FT: “I called [Julian Metcalfe] and left countless voicemails. I emailed and never got one reply. Most people would have given up chasing after a few calls and emails. I didn’t.”

Frozen yoghurt firm looks for £150,000 via crowd-funding: The frozen yoghurt brand AngelBerry is looking to raise £150,000 through the crowd-funding website Crowdcube in return for 9% of its equity. Launched in December 2011, AngelBerry is an internationally trading frozen yogurt chain, based in the UK and founded by James Taylor and Ryan Pasco. The company has grown from two stores in 2012 to six stores in 2013, two company-owned and operated in the UK and four franchised in Mauritius and is planning to open a further 95 stores over the next three years. AngelBerry offers 45 frozen yogurt flavours more than 40 toppings. The company said: “We have contractual commitments for over 50 new AngelBerry stores in the coming years between the Middle East and Africa and our next international store is due to open in Abu Dhabi in March. Our business is quickly gaining traction within the market in both the UK and overseas. We are currently serving in excess of 15,000 customers per week and selling over 3,500kg of frozen yogurt. Across the AngelBerry social media estate we have in excess of 10,000 fans or followers and customer reactions are fantastic.” In year one the company turned over £254,000 and £483,500 in year two. A total of £17,490 has been raised from 32 investors so far. AngelBerry is holding an investor event to let people hear from the company founders and ask questions about the business and its plans and aspirations on Friday 31 January 2014 at 7pm in The Radisson Blu Hotel, Bristol.

Jamie’s Italian to open first Nordic site in Stockholm: Scandic Hotels is to launch the first franchised Jamie’s Italian restaurant in the Nordic region, with the first outlet due to open in the autumn in Stockholm. Jamie Oliver said: “We’ve worked with the guys at Scandic for nearly five years now across a number of projects and I’m incredibly excited to be teaming up with them to launch Jamie’s Italian into the Nordic region. It’s brilliant to be partnering with such a creative, innovative and professional team, and I can’t wait to kick start things by opening our first restaurant in Stockholm. It’s going to be epic.” Scandic’s relationship with Jamie Oliver goes back to 2009, since when Scandic guests have been able to choose dishes from menus especially composed by Jamie Oliver and the Scandic food and beverage team.

Belfast nightclub to close this weekend: The Rain nightclub in Belfast is set to shut this weekend. On its Facebook page, Rain announced it was to have its farewell party on Friday. The club’s former owner, Coral Inns, went into administration in August 2012. The nightspot, on Tomb Street, close to the Cathedral Quarter, went on the market with a price tag of £300,000 last year. In May last year the business was advertised with a leasehold interest in the building, described by agents Osborne King as a “converted former bond warehouse” which can hold 520 customers. Coral Inns signed up to a company voluntary arrangement at the end of 2011 after running up debts with HM Revenue and a drinks supplier.

Award-winning pub manager sets up pub company: The winner of the 2013 Front of House Manager of the Year award at the UK Gastropub Awards has started his own pub company. Mike Champion, who won the award while at The Black Bull Inn in Balsham, Cambridgeshire, is now running The Carpenters Arms in Cambridge. At the same time he has set up The Light Blue Pub Company, and aims to take on further pubs in the future in and around the city. However, Champion told his local newspaper, the immediate focus is on redecorating and furnishing the Carpenters Arms, including its five guest rooms. He said: “When I heard the owners of my local pub wanted someone to come in and take over the business I saw it was a chance to make something of my own. I absolutely can’t wait to get my teeth into it.”

Cumbrian nightclub to close this weekend after Wetherspoon acquisition: Toppers nightclub in Penrith will close this weekend after being acquired by JD Wetherspoon. Toppers, in Southend Road, opened 35 years ago and developed into one of the biggest nightclubs in Cumbria, attracting around 1,300 people every Saturday evening. For the past 15 years it has been owned by Simon Nutter. He said the advent of cheap alcohol had brought a change in the night-time economy with people drinking at home before going out later in the evening: “It is difficult these days to run a successful nightclub because more people are drinking at home. It’s sad that we have generation of young people who no longer go out for the evening and socially interact as people did in the past. If they do go out it isn’t until after 10pm.”

Bury St Edmunds nightclub owner plans new site: The Bury St Edmunds nightclub operator Daniel Bird, the owner of Club Brazilias in Station Road, is investing £140,000 on a refurbishment of the Vision night club across the road. “It’s going to take over from Brazilias, which will be pulled down later this year for redevelopment now the lease has run out,” he said. “Vision will be something completely different. Brazilias is out of date, it’s run its course, and the town needs something completely different. I don’t want to let too much out of the bag but we’ll have a proper stage and there can potentially be three rooms of music there.”

Dunkin’ Donuts to open first out-of-London store: Dunkin Donuts is to open its first site outside London, in Chelmsford, Essex. The first of the company’s UK restaurants on its return to the country opened in Harrow, in north London, last month and the Chelmsford outlet is due to open at 13-14 Moulsham Street in mid-February. It will be the first of more than 20 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants to be operated under a franchise deal between the brand’s United States-based owners and the UK-based Court Group, which is chaired by Suffolk businessman and former Ipswich Town FC chairman David Sheepshanks. Sheepshanks said: “Dunkin’ Donuts is an international brand with a long history, and we are excited to be part of the official launch of Dunkin’ in the UK.” Other towns and cities where Court Group-operated Dunkin’ Donuts franchises are due to open later this year include Cambridge.

BrewDog opens bar in Brazil: Scottish brewery and bar operator BrewDog, the UK’s fastest growing food and drinks brand, officially opened BrewDog Sao Paulo yesterday, its 14th craft beer bar and second international opening. Located in the Pinheiros district of Sao Paulo, the new bar is the company’s first opening of 2014, kicking off BrewDog’s aim to open eight new UK and international bars this year. Last year saw BrewDog open its first international bar, in Stockholm, Sweden, as well as a third London bar, in Shepherd’s Bush. In the past five years, BrewDog has experienced an average of 285% annual growth, making it the fastest growing food and drink brand in the UK over the past three years.

New restaurant complex in St Neots delayed until May: The new Rowley Arts Centre in St Neots, which will include outlets for Frankie & Benny’s, Chimichanga and PizzaExpress and a Cineworld complex, has had its opening delayed for two months. It had been expected to open on February 14. Cineworld told the Hunts Post: “We are looking at the middle of May for opening.” The restaurants in the complex are expected to open at the same time. A spokesman for PizzaExpress said: “We’re looking forward to opening and are progressing in line with the cinema.”

Double Tree takes third Cheshire site: A former Little Chef in Adlington, near Macclesfield, Cheshire has been let to Double Tree Indian Restaurants, which already runs five outlets in the north west of England. The restaurant, which had been vacant for some time, is next to a Travelodge Hotel. The business will mark Double Tree’s third restaurant in the region, after Altrincham and Cheadle Hulme. Jonathan Watson, from Christie + Co’s Manchester office, said: “Acting for Travelodge Hotels, we marketed the property both locally and nationally as part of the ongoing Little Chef disposal project. We approached Double Tree directly after hearing of their expansion into Greater Manchester and Cheshire.”

Croydon operator takes over Chingford venue: The Prince Albert, a venue in Chingford, East London, has been let to a new owner by agent Christie + Co on a new free-of-tie lease. The basement bar and restaurant has been let to Byron Senior from Croydon, South London, who is looking to run a brasserie by day and a live music venue for over-30s by night, with a focus on live soul and jazz bands. Senior has been running an online collectors’ music store since 1996 and has experience in running a similar operation in Croydon.

Flood-hit Fuller’s pub set to re-open in March: A Fuller Smith & Turner tenanted pub, the Mill at Elstead, near Farnham, Surrey, closed by floods since Christmas Eve, is due to re-open in March. Georgia and Jeff Watts took over running The Mill at Elstead last spring. They had only just finished updating the sprawling historic pub when disaster struck. Mrs Watts said: “[The water] gushed through every possible gap. It came through the wheelhouse, the stairs, it was horrifying, actually.” The pub “will be coming back even more beautiful than before,” Mrs Watts said. “This can be a new chapter for the Mill and we look forward to seeing everyone when she re-opens. The building is prone to flooding, but she has not flooded like this since 1969. We have been so touched by all the support we have had from the community and Fuller’s have been great.”

Chef & Brewer closed by floods to re-open: Spirit Pub Company is to re-open a flood-hit pub next week. The Kings Arms, in Oxford, a Chef & Brewer site, is expected to re-open early next week after repairs following the floods.

Soho House linked to cinema project at former PizzaExpress site: Soho House is one of the independent operators linked to a new art-house cinema project planned for the former North London Polytechnic building in Kentish Town. The former college premises were operated as a PizzaExpress until last year. The local newspaper has reported that a leading independent arthouse operator will take over the site.

Skyline restaurant planned for Spinningfields: Property developer Allied London is looking for an operator “of the highest calibre” to run the skyline restaurant planned for its No 1 Spinningfields development in Manchester. Michael Ingall, chief executive of Allied London, said: “No 1 Spinningfields will be the district’s most imposing building to date and one of Manchester’s most stand-out office buildings. The 19th floor restaurant will have a glass-enclosed roof terrace giving patrons unparalleled views of Greater Manchester. In line with our vision for Spinningfields, we aim to secure an operator of the highest calibre to provide a fine dining and mixology experience worthy of such a grand vantage-point location.” The new 19-storey office tower, designed by Ian Simpson Architects, will connect Quay Street to Hardman Square with a pedestrianised route running through the middle of the ground floor. Ground floor units will be made available to food, drink and retail outlets. A planning decision is expected on 10 April.

Beechdale Homes buys Banyers Hotel: Beechdale Homes has bought the 14-bedroom Banyers Hotel on 16 Melbourn Street in the heart of Royston, Hertfordshire off an asking price of £800,000 for the freehold. William Thomas, associate director of Fleurets, said: “The attractive period property is conveniently located between London and Cambridge and offers a large garden and a private car park. We were, therefore, not surprised to receive a considerable number of formal offers. Beechdale Homes are planning to refurbish the property to create a new high-end hotel, bar and restaurant.”

Cornerhouse reports record visitor numbers: Record-breaking figures have been announced for the Cornerhouse leisure complex, in Nottingham city centre. More than nine million people visited the centre, at the corner of South Sherwood Street and Forman Street, last year. Manager Suzanne Green said: “The heat wave and the Trent Bridge Ashes in July helped to boost visitor numbers especially to our outdoor seating areas on Forman Street and to the terrace at Rocket@Saltwater and created a perfect storm of customers and weather. Trinity Square is now undergoing a major revamp and with Turtle Bay, Red Hot World Buffet and Tamatanga prominent on the Square, I think this area will prove even more popular in 2014.”

Byron to open in Chiswick: Byron, the gourmet hamburger restaurant chain, has confirmed it will be opening a branch in Chiswick, West London. The chain’s founder, Tom Byng, took to Twitter saying he was happy to confirm what was described as “W4’s worst kept secret”, that Byron would open its next branch in Chiswick. Speculation had been mounting after the closure of the Cafe Rouge restaurant in Chiswick last week that the hamburger restaurant was on the way.

Luminar raises £21,000 for children’s charities: Luminar, the UK’s largest nightclub operator, is celebrating after its festive fundraising campaign raised more than £21,000 for its nominated charity, the Echo Trust. Clubs nationwide asked their customers to Give A Kid A Quid over the festive season to raise funds for the Echo Trust, a charity originally established by Luminar in 2002 to grant awards to local children’s charities. Over the past 11 years, the Echo Trust, which is managed by a trust headed by Luminar’s chief executive, Peter Marks, has raised almost £3m and supported a huge range of causes ranging from children’s hospitals to charity groups. The top five fundraising nightclubs were Liquid & Envy Ashford, PRYZM Bristol, Oceana Nottingham, Evoque Preston and Liquid & Envy Oldham. Customers at Liquid & Envy Ashford, helped the club retain its number one fundraising spot, donating an impressive £2,000. Marks said: “Our ‘Give A Kid A Quid’ campaign really touched the hearts of our customers this year, who dug deep and helped raised this impressive sum of money for the Echo Trust.”

Bath Ales signs Russian export deal: The independent brewer Bath Ales has signed an export deal with Russia as it plans further dramatic growth in overseas sales. Russia is the tenth country to join Bath Ales’ export portfolio as the company looks to introduce its beers to new territories. Shipments to foreign markets doubled in 2013 and Bath Ales intends to double overseas sales again in 2014. Export manager Moussa Clarke said: “Demand for quality craft beer overseas is booming and we’re confident the quality of our products will see us deliver further success. We currently export to countries as far away as Mexico, Brazil and New Zealand, as well as closer to home in Europe, and this year we’re planning to significantly increase our distribution abroad.”

Vimac assets underwent pre-pack sale last month to Kymel: The key trading assets of Vimac, the north of England restaurant and nightclub company headed by Paul MacKings, were sold in a pre-packaged administration last month. The Crab and lobster, Thirsk, Yorkshire and Trenches, Whitby, Yorkshire were sold for £4.5m to Kymel, of which MacKings is also a director. Two other closed freeholds, Loft, Kendal, Cumbria, and Onyx, Middlesbrough, are on the market and are expected to raise circa £750,000. Allied Irish Bank is owed around £15m, and around £9.5m of the bank’s debt will rank as a creditor with a floating charge. Bank and cash balances of £403,500 have been passed to Kymel by administrator Begbies Traynor on condition that all unsecured creditors, including HMRC, would be paid in full. A report by Begbies Traynor said: “In addition, all vouchers and future bookings will be honoured. The estimated value of these creditors was in excess of the cash and bank balances transferred and, consequently, the shortfall would be picked up by Kymel. The position was accepted by the bank, who were independently advised. In essence, this was a restructuring of the group that required the involvement of an administrator. However, as all creditors are to be paid in full they have no interest in proceedings.”

More Poundcafes to come, says Sayers: More Poundcafe openings are in the pipeline, the Bolton-based bakery and cafe operator Sayers the Bakers has announced. Unveiling its results for the 12 months ending September 30 2013, Sayers said the year had seen the launch of the Poundcafe concept, which offers customers a full breakfast for £1. “The concept has been a great success with customers and has been featured on TV and in both local and national news,” the company’s annual report said. Two shops were converted to Poundcafe during the period, “with more to follow”. A third Poundcafe opened earlier this month. Overall, the company, which runs more than 150 shops under the Sayers and Poundbakery fascias, and 25 cafes, posted a pre-tax loss of £82,000, down from a profit of £229,000 in the previous year. Sales fell slightly from £42.5m in 2012 to £42.4m. Sayers also opened five new Poundbakery stores in 2012/13. The brand, whose offerings include two sausage rolls for £1, was launched in 2011 to compete with Greggs.

Barworks and Good Life Group report record profit: The London-based bar and restaurant company Barworks and The Diner operator Good Life Group, two companies with the same four directors, have reported a combined pre-tax profit of £2.65m on combined turnover of £14.9m, placing the directors’ two companies among the UK’s most profitable smaller operators. Barworks, the operator of six London bars and restaurants, sold its Hoxton Bar and Kitchen site in East London for £1.88m, the company’s annual accounts reveal. The company produced turnover of £8.45m in the year to 30 June 2013, although Hoxton Bar and Kitchen was sold 15 weeks short of the year-end – turnover was £7.96m the year before. Pre-tax profit was £1.81m, up from £434,000 the year before. Interim dividends amount to £683,000. The company reported that two more sites have been acquired since the year-end and profit for the current year is expected to be “maintained at close to the record level of the year under review”. It added: “In addition, income from management services supplied to associated undertakings and third parties is forecast to rise steadily. Meanwhile, each active venue within the Barworks Group is delivering profits once the initial period of bedding is passed, so that the overall business is going from strength to strength.” The Good Life Group, which operates seven Diners, has reported turnover of £6.45m in the year to 30 June 2013, up from £5.58m the year before. Pre-tax profit was £711,000, up from £460,000 the year before. During the year, in May 2013, a seventh Diner, in Gloucester Road, West London, was opened. A leasehold site in Queens Road, London was sold in June for £270,000. Interim dividends of £583,000 were paid by the company. An eighth diner, at Spitalfields Market, East London was bought after the year-end and another site is under consideration. The company said: “The business is well-placed to make further core investments in the immediate and longer term future – partly funded by cash generated within the business and partly by bank finance. These expansion plans could undoubtedly be accelerated if appropriate sources of long-term finance were to be obtained and the directors are actively exploring all such avenues.”

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