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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 7th May 2019 - Exclusive – Pod put up for sale after continuation of negative sales trend
Exclusive – Pod put up for sale after continuation of negative sales trend: Pod, the 22-strong, London-based healthy eating operator, has been put up for sale, Propel has learned. Pod has appointed RSM as advisor to run the process with “significant development capital needed to get the business back on track as it continues to see a drop in sales”. In a letter to shareholders, which has been seen by Propel, chairman David Haimes said: “I wanted to update you on a significant step the board has taken. We have appointed advisor RSM to run a sales process for the company. This decision has been driven by a continuation of the negative sales trend we experienced in the final quarter of last year. Management believes this trend is caused by a combination of a very tired looking underinvested estate and a very tough trading environment and therefore they need significant development capital to get the business back on track. We have not been able to raise this capital despite a number of attempts and hence concluded the best option for all stakeholders is to run a sales process to find new owners/investors to take the business forward. (Chief executive) Alex (Young) and his management team will be leading the process and are incentivised to achieve the best outcome. We cannot be certain of the exact timing of this process but hope to be able present you with a purchase offer over the coming months. In selecting RSM we have an advisor with a strong reputation that can attract interest from a wide range of potential buyers and manage the sale process efficiently and professionally. If you know of any interested parties who may be interested in joining the sales process please direct them to RSM via our finance director, John Moulton. I hope you can all support this process as we seek to achieve the best possible outcome for all shareholders.” Last month, Pod reported operating losses for the year ending 3 January 2019 had reduced to £432,551, compared with £1,452,566 the year before. Overall loss before tax was £486,973, compared with £1,748,884 the previous year. There was a £1.2m swing at Ebitda level, delivering £400,000. Total sales of £17.4m were up from £17.2m in 2017, an increase of 0.9% year-on-year. Last year, Pod raised almost £300,000 through a mini-bond campaign from 44 investors towards its “expansion plans”. 

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