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Mon 29th Jun 2020 - Sky News – Byron files notice of intention to appoint administrators
Sky News – Byron files notice of intention to appoint administrators: Better burger brand Byron has filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators. The move is designed to provide protection from creditors as the company holds detailed talks with three potential buyers. Sources said Byron's board remained confident of sealing a deal in the coming weeks, with the likeliest outcome a pre-pack administration, which involves certain assets being sold to a new owner, reports Sky News. KPMG has been running a sale process of the Three Hills Capital-backed Byron since early May. The identity of the remaining bidders was unclear on Monday (29 June). People close to the process said Byron, which employs 1,200 people, intended to begin a phased reopening of its 51 UK restaurants from the middle of July. Like other hospitality businesses, Byron has struggled to access financial support under the Treasury's emergency loan schemes. Byron was founded in 2007 with two sites and grew to 70 sites in December 2016. Three Hills Capital Partners took control of Byron in early 2018, following a company voluntary arrangement that allowed the company to exit 15 to 20 underperforming restaurants and renegotiate rental agreements. As part of the process, Byron also reduced its company debt to zero. During the coronavirus outbreak, the majority of its staff have been furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Last year, the company recorded turnover of £70.9m, with a gross profit of £31.6m. Sources have previously said the coronavirus outbreak came at “a frustrating time for Byron”, which was making progress in its turnaround plan under chief executive Simon Wilkinson. Byron was quick to act once the crisis emerged, by pausing its refurbishment programme. The business also placed all hourly employees on minimum-hour payment terms to ensure they were protected during the lock-down. Companies including Casual Dining Group, the owner of Las Iguanas and Café Rouge, have launched sales processes, while others – including Prezzo, Wahaca, Wasabi and Azzurri Group – the owner of ASK Italian and Zizzi – have hired advisers to explore options to raise new money.

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