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Tue 22nd Sep 2020 - Wahaca lenders and shareholders to write off £25m of debt, JD Wetherspoon consults over airport redundancies
Wahaca lenders and shareholders to write off £25m of debt to rescue chain: Lenders to and shareholders of Mexican restaurant company Wahaca will write off £25m of debt in an attempt to rescue the business. Sky News reported a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) being proposed by Wahaca will lead to its shareholders and lenders injecting £5m of new money into the business to put it on a more sustainable footing. Lenders led by the taxpayer-backed NatWest will also see roughly 60% of their exposure, or £13m, written off, while shareholders are writing off the entirety of the £12m they are owed by the company. Last month, Wahaca said it would permanently shut ten of its circa 30 sites in an attempt to return to profitability. The latest details were sent to Wahaca’s creditors earlier this week ahead of a vote on the CVA, which is being supervised by PwC. Sources said the proposals underlined the fact creditors other than landlords were also being asked to share the financial pain of the company’s restructuring. In an email to Wahaca staff seen by Sky News, Wahaca co-founder and chief executive, Mark Selby, wrote: “These have been the hardest decisions of our lives and we have looked at this from every angle with the sole objective of looking after as many of our teams and restaurants as we can without having to close the business for good like so many others have had to do.” Selby also praised NatWest and the company's shareholders for being “unbelievably supportive of us as a business”. The company announced last month it would not be reopening ten Wahaca restaurants – in Bluewater, Bristol, Brixton, Charlotte Street, Chichester, Manchester, Liverpool, Kentish Town, Southampton and St Pauls – and it was exploring a CVA.

JD Wetherspoon consults on up to 450 airport redundancies: JD Wetherspoon is consulting with staff on up to 450 airport redundancies. Wetherspoon chief executive John Hutson said: “The company has written to 1,000 people employed in its pubs at six airports – Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Glasgow – to inform them that a possible 400 to 450 positions are at risk of redundancy. The decision is mainly a result of a downturn in trade in these pubs, linked with the large reduction in passenger numbers using the airports. We should emphasise no firm decisions have been made at this stage. The company will listen to suggestions from staff to help avoid or reduce the number of compulsory redundancies which are required. Wetherspoon is proposing to collectively consult with employees through an employment representative committee, which will be established for this purpose.”

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