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Fri 24th Jun 2016 - Red Hot World Buffet owner to appoint administrators
Red Hot World Buffet owner to appoint administrators: The company behind Red Hot World Buffet has revealed it intends to appoint administrators. Passepartout, which owns five branches of Red Hot World Buffet, has applied to the High Court to be placed into administration. Documents reveal the company, whose head office is in Bolton, filed a notice of intention to be placed into administration last week. Minutes obtained from the board meeting discussing the application showed the company is currently “unable to pay its debts” due to “financial difficulties.” They read: “The chairman reported that the meeting had been convened in light of the company’s current financial position, details of which have been minuted at previous board meetings. In light of the company’s current financial position, the directors concluded that the company is unable to pay its debts.” FRP Advisory, an insolvency firm that said it ‘offers services to businesses and individuals who are facing financial or operational uncertainty’ has been named as the company Passepartout intend to appoint as administrators. If the administration goes ahead, it means the business will be handed over to the firm, which will then have to make a decision about whether to wind it down to pay off its debts, or to make changes to turn it into a viable business. A spokesperson for FRP told the Liverpool Echo: “A number of offers for sites have been received from trade competitors and these are currently being considered by FRP Advisory and the group. The group continues to trade as normal with the support of its loyal employees across the Red Hot World Buffet operations. The group has an attractive portfolio of A3 restaurant sites in Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool , Leicester and Cardiff and the group looks forward to working with FRP Advisory.”

Just Eat chairman makes more than £1.1m from share sale: The regular share sales by directors and founding investors of online food ordering firm Just Eat continued yesterday (Thursday, 23 June) when chairman John Hughes made a profit of more than £1.1m from selling stock held under its joint share ownership plan. The sale by Hughes comes four months after chief executive David Buttress and Mike Wroe, who is leaving his role as chief financial officer in September, pocketed £12.5m and £6.6m respectively from the disposal of shares held personally or under the ownership plan. In April last year the trio between them sold £7.8m of shares from the same plan, with Hughes collecting £2.1m and Buttress £3.2m. Profits are slightly lower as all shares in the plan have a strike price of 12.04p. Some observers have pointed to the regular share sales by the founding investors and directors as a vote of scepticism in the company’s long-term growth prospects. In a research note after the director share sales in March, Neil Campling, of Aviate Global, said: “It hardly sends a positive message to shareholders. The stock sale comes at a time when we see 2016 as a year of significant challenges and new business risks in our view. So you now have both management selling down aggressively and the venture capitalists selling down aggressively.” When the company floated in April 2014, the shares were priced at a multiple of 100 times its underlying earnings, and the stock quickly fell below the launch price. However, its consistently strong trading since and continuing pursuit of acquisitions and technological innovation has impressed the market. Hughes has been chairman of Just Eat since December 2011. The joint share ownership plan was put in place before the listing, when Just Eat was privately held, and the company pointed out that, after the exercise of another 10,000 shares, Hughes was increasing his shareholding to 175,000 shares, reports The Times.

World’s first community distillery set to open in Scotland after reaching £1.5m crowdfunding target: Scottish whisky start-up GlenWyvis is set to become the first community-owned distillery in the world after raising £1.5m via crowdfunding platform Crowdfunder to build a distillery in Ross-shire near Inverness. The distillery in Dingwall will be built by 2021 and powered by renewable energy – it aims to have bottles of eight-year malt on sale by the middle of the next decade. The initial production run will be 30,000 litres a year, although this could rise to 200,000. GlenWyvis will be the first distillery in the town for 90 years. Founder John Mackenzie, a retired army officer and helicopter pilot who flew Nicola Sturgeon around Scotland during her general election campaign, said by offering shares in the company for as little as £250, the local community could become involved. He told the Daily Telegraph: “There’s a community of Scotch malt whisky fans around the world. Yes, people will make money from investing in us, but it’s about being involved in something you’re passionate about and have not been allowed to be involved in before.” GlenWyvis has already attracted 15,000 shareholders., The average investment is £1,000, although two investors have put in £50,000 each. The company is supported by Community Shares Scotland, a body that encourages community-owned enterprises, and has won the backing of former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond, who has tipped it to produce “one of the finest malts in Scotland”. It has had a gin product on the market for a year, and plans to build a visitor centre alongside the distillery. GlenWyvis has a stretch target of £2.25m, which will allow the company to lower its dependence on loans once it gets up and running, with pledges closing at midnight tonight (Friday, 24 June).

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