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Thu 16th Apr 2020 - Exclusive: Le Pain Quotidien UK put on market
Exclusive – Le Pain Quotidien UK put on market: Belgian restaurant and boulangerie brand Le Pain Quotidien UK has been placed on the market, with final offers for the 26-strong business sought by 22 April, Propel has learned. It is understood advisers Alvarez & Marsal are overseeing an accelerated sales process for the business, which is led by Adrian Johnson, the former chief executive of EAT and ex-managing director of Patisserie Valerie. Offers are being sought for the whole or part of the business. Of the 26 sites it currently operates, 19 are forecast to generate an Ebitda of £2.8m in 2021. Propel understands if a buyer isn’t found, the business, which is thought to have posted turnover of £37m in FY2019, may have to undergo a restructuring process. Turnover for the group, including only 19 sites, is forecast to be circa £13m for the second half of 2020, assuming all are reopened. The brand currently operates 24 sites in London, plus sites in Oxford Westgate and Leeds Victoria Gate. Last September, Le Pain Quotidien reported turnover fell 4.0% to £38m for the year ending 31 December 2018, compared with £39.5m the previous year. It reported a pre-tax loss of £711,000 compared with a profit of £1.2m the year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Gross profit margin fell to 13.8% compared with 16.1% the previous year, which “highlighted the tough trading conditions”. Gail’s Bakery, the Luke Johnson-chaired company, has already been put forward as a possible bidder for part or all of the Le Pain Quotidien UK business.

NTIA and sector businesses prepare to take stand against insurance companies over ‘legitimate’ claims: The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) and sector businesses are preparing to take a stand against insurance companies that are avoiding paying out legitimate claims as a result of the coronavirus crisis. The NTIA said it had identified a number of insurers it believes “are acting unfairly in these circumstances to protect their own interests and have gathered substantial support from the sector to fight these disputed claims”. NTIA chief executive Michael Kill said: “At some point this crisis will end and those businesses that have shown a lack of support and integrity will be compromised by the industries that were forgotten. While the crisis may be short lived, the memories of how people conduct their business will resonate into the future. While we appreciate there are some clear cases where insurance claims within the night-time business sector are not legitimate, there are a considerable number of businesses who are being denied valid insurance claims, being disputed by certain insurers in the hope that the current financial situation will deter them from challenging the claim. These actions have not gone without notice and will be challenged at a greater scale in the coming weeks.” Vagabond managing director Stephen Finch added: “Vagabond is one of the very few businesses to actually have had pandemic business interruption insurance, and one of the most rigorous policies in that regard. Our policy essentially stated in the event we experience business interruption stemming from an occurrence of a notifiable disease (as determined by Public Health England, which added covid-19 a month ago) within a 25-mile radius of a premises of ours, we would be eligible for our business interruption indemnity sum. As you can imagine, this is a significant sum (£1.3m). The policy wording is clear cut. The facts are indisputable. And yet I heard from our broker the insurer has decided to deny all claims.”

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