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Mon 18th May 2020 - CDG prepares for financial restructure
CDG prepares for financial restructure: Casual Dining Group (CDG), the Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Las Iguanas operator, is preparing for a financial restructure as it looks to safeguard its future. The company, which employs about 6,000 people, is set to unveil plans that will involve an injection of substantial new funds by its shareholders. It is understood all options are on the table, including company voluntary arrangements and the possibility of putting one of the brands into administration. Prior to the UK-wide lock-down starting in March, CDG traded from about 250 outlets across the UK. A number of CDG's sites are understood to have been earmarked for closure, with many of the remaining sites likely to be the subject of negotiations about rent reductions. A source told Propel the objective of the plan was to preserve the majority of jobs and as many restaurants as possible but the action “made sense in the current climate”. CDG, which is controlled by the private equity giant KKR, is understood to have appointed the advisory firm AlixPartners to work on the restructuring. The company's largest brand, Bella Italia, trades from more than 100 sites, while there are roughly 60 Las Iguanas and Café Rouge restaurants apiece. KKR and Pemberton Capital Advisors, another financial investor, have controlled CDG since early 2018, when they took control from Apollo Global Management. Prior to the lock-down, and under new management, CDG's performance is understood to have improved. Last year, it appointed Rooney Anand, the former boss of brewer and retailer Greene King, as its new chairman. A CDG spokesman said: “As is widely acknowledged, this is an unprecedented situation for our industry and, like many other companies across the UK, the directors of CDG are working closely with our advisors as we consider our next steps.” Since the outbreak of the pandemic, a range of restaurant operators, such as Prezzo and Wahaca, have drafted in professional advisers to explore their financing options. Others, including better burger brand Byron, have decided to kick off formal sale processes.

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