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Wed 27th Feb 2019 - Future of Patisserie Valerie management team thrown into doubt
Future of Patisserie Valerie management team thrown into doubt: The future of Patisserie Valerie’s management team led by Steve Francis, which was expected to take the troubled business forward after the majority of the brand’s estate was acquired out of administration by Irish private equity firm Causeway Capital Partners, has been thrown into doubt. Sources suggest staff have been informed Francis is no longer chief executive of the business. At the same time, Propel understands chief group commercial director Rhys Iley, who joined the business at the end of last year, left the company earlier this week. Both had previously talked about taking the business forward. Causeway declined to comment on the possible management changes. It is understood Nick Perrin, who joined Patisserie Holdings as interim chief financial officer in December, left the business at the end of last month. Earlier this month, Causeway acquired 96 of Patisserie Valerie’s 121 remaining outlets out of administration, seemingly backing the existing management team led by Francis in the process. One of Causeway’s portfolio companies is BB Bakers and Baristas, which operates 65 stores across the UK and Ireland. It is understood Patisserie Valerie will continue to operate as a standalone entity and its stores will not be folded into BB Bakers and Baristas. BB is currently led by former Paul UK and Euphorium Bakery chief executive James Fleming. It has been suggested he might also oversee the Patisserie Valerie business in the interim. Patisserie Valerie collapsed in January after failing to agree fresh funding with its banks. Its parent company, Patisserie Holdings, said its failure was a “direct result” of an accounting fraud that left a £40m hole in the company’s finances. Administrator KPMG shut 70 unprofitable stores at the cost of more 900 jobs. KPMG ran an accelerated sales process for the remaining stores, which was gatecrashed by billionaire retail tycoon Mike Ashley. The Sports Direct owner subsequently withdrew his £15m offer. Backed by sector investor Luke Johnson, Patisserie Valerie grew rapidly after being bought by his investment firm, Risk Capital Partners, in 2006. The company floated in 2014 and continued to expand despite facing the same headwinds as others in the high street and leisure sector. However, in October last year the company was plunged into crisis when it revealed “significant, and potentially fraudulent, accounting irregularities”. Shares were suspended and Johnson hastily raised rescue funding from investors. Finance chief Chris Marsh was questioned by police with the Serious Fraud Office opening an investigation. Accounting authorities have also launched a probe into the actions of auditor Grant Thornton. Marsh, chief executive Paul May and other members of the board stepped down with the exception of Johnson. The 96 Patisserie Valerie sites and sister brand Philpotts were sold out of administration in two separate deals totalling £13m. While Causeway acquired the rump of the Patisserie Valerie estate, the 21 Philpotts stores were bought by food retail, wholesale and distribution company AF Blakemore & Son.

Deliveroo to launch click and collect as part of expansion plans: Deliveroo is to launch click and collect in the UK as part of expansion plans revealed to mark its sixth anniversary. The company, which now works with 20,000 restaurants in Britain with food-to-go retailer Greggs one of its latest partners, is set to launch in eight further towns in the next month and plans on adding more than 40 by the end of the year. Deliveroo will shortly be operational in Ashford, Birkenhead, Blackburn, Dartford, Doncaster, Grays, Paisley and Sunderland. The click-and-collect function will give customers the option to order food for collection and will be available from thousands of restaurants on the platform by the end of the year. Through the support and infrastructure provided by Deliveroo, London-born Yoobi Sushi launched its business internationally this month. Powered by Deliveroo Editions, Yoobi Sushi has now taken up residence in Courbevoie, serving Parisians its Brazilian-inspired sushi. Deliveroo chief executive Will Shu said: “Six years ago I never thought we’d get the chance to work with operators such as Greggs or PizzaExpress. Now we’re in 14 countries across the globe, boast one of Britain’s biggest technology teams and are supporting some of the UK’s best takeaways and restaurants.”

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