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Thu 19th Jul 2018 - Gaucho to shut all CAU sites immediately as company goes into administration
Gaucho to shut all CAU sites immediately as company goes into administration: Gaucho is to close all its CAU sites immediately with the loss of 540 jobs after going into administration. Accountancy firm Deloitte has been appointed as administrator. It said all 22 branches of CAU would close to allow the group to focus on selling the Gaucho chain. Deloitte described CAU as “significantly loss-making” after reporting three consecutive years of falling sales. The move comes a day after Gaucho said it had filed an intention to appoint administrators. Joint administrator Matt Smith said: “Unfortunately the CAU brand has struggled in the oversupplied casual dining sector with rapid overexpansion, poor site selection, onerous lease arrangements and a fundamentally poor guest proposition all being factors in its underperformance. The Gaucho business on the other hand, which operates in the premium dining market, continues to trade well in its market segment, is profitable and has a strong underlying brand and guest loyalty. We are taking steps to stabilise the business following our appointment and are now seeking expressions of interest in terms of a sale of the Gaucho business.” Gaucho is owned by private equity firm Equistone. It has restaurants in London, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Edinburgh as well as Dubai and Hong Kong. The restaurant group employs 1,305 people, with 540 at CAU, 714 at Gaucho and 51 at head office. An Equistone spokesman said: “Equistone has been a supportive majority shareholder to Gaucho Group since its investment in 2016, working closely with the company to address the challenges presented by the adverse trading conditions that have negatively impacted the UK casual dining sector as a whole. Despite Equistone having presented Gaucho’s lenders with, and committed to funding, a business plan that would have maintained the company as a going concern, a notice of intention to appoint administrators was submitted.” The company’s founder, Zeev Godik, stepped down as chief executive in November. He was replaced by Oliver Meakin, who joined from electrical retailer Maplin. In May, managing director Tracey Matthews announced she was stepping down after 18 years with the business to pursue new opportunities. Latest accounts available at Companies House showed for the year ending 31 December 2016 CAU generated turnover of £25,507,748, compared with £16,869,476 the previous year. It reported a pre-tax loss of £2,449,797, compared with a loss of £901,643 the year before.

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