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Fri 25th Sep 2020 - Hugh Osmond’s Various Eateries to begin trading this morning on AIM
Hugh Osmond’s Various Eateries to begin trading this morning on AIM: Various Eateries, the Hugh Osmond led business, begins trading on the AIM market this morning at 8am. It has raised £25 million (before expenses) by way of a placing of 34,246,576 new ordinary shares with institutional and other investors at a price of 73p per ordinary share. Various Eateries’ market capitalisation at the placing price on admission will be £65 million. The net proceeds will principally be used to advance the group’s plans to roll out its Coppa Club and Tavolino brands and to fund future activities, possibly including acquisitions. Hugh Osmond said: “To be launching our flotation into the teeth of the worst crisis ever faced by the hospitality industry is an incredible achievement. It is a testament to the strength of the Various Eateries team and to our brokers, WH Ireland. Adversity is the backdrop to the creation of many of the greatest ventures, not just in business but in life. I helped to build up PizzaExpress out of the UK recession of the early 1990s; we will build up Various Eateries out of the devastation caused by this current crisis. I believe we have one of the best and most experienced teams ever put together in this industry. Between us we have run thousands of restaurants, pubs, clubs and hotels, and built some of the UK’s largest and most successful hospitality businesses over more than 27 years. We have seen good times and we have seen bad. We will take new sites, build new venues, employ new people and create new places for people to go, on the high street and in local communities. Our industry creates entry level jobs for people just out of school or university: the only qualifications required are to be able to work hard and to be a nice person. I am sad to see many high streets devastated by the turmoil in hospitality and retail. But we will take those empty sites and turn them into busy all-day community hubs suited for how people in the post-covid 2020s will want to live. Hospitality is about so much more than food and drink. Hospitality is about freedom, frivolity and fun; it is about providing places that human beings want to go to in order to meet other human beings, to socialise and to enjoy life. To many, this crisis is an existential threat; but it is also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a new, major leisure business, based on how people want to live now. That is why we are floating Various Eateries today and that is what we are raising money to try to achieve.”

Deliveroo begins IPO talks: Deliveroo has begun preliminary talks to explore an initial public offering (IPO). Bloomberg reports that the Amazon-backed company has had discussions with potential advisers regarding the possibility of an IPO in 2021. It said that no final decisions have been made and Deliveroo may still decide against going ahead with listing plans. A spokesperson for Deliveroo said: “We don’t comment on speculation.” The business was valued at more than $2bn at its fundraise in 2017. As of August, Deliveroo had added an extra 30,000 new restaurants to its app as more began offering deliveries during lockdown.

NI rules state no more than six people from two households can meet in pubs and restaurants: New laws mean no more than six people from two households in NI will be allowed to sit at the same table in a pub or restaurant. That is in contrast with what the executive previously said on operating rules for the hospitality sector. Last week, it said up to six people from any number of households would be allowed to sit together at a table. But the legislation has now been published and goes further than what the executive initially outlined. It is understood the executive considered the measures when it held an emergency meeting on Monday and agreed to add them to the laws regulating the hospitality industry, as a means of reducing the spread of the virus. Live music in venues is also now banned under the legislation. On Thursday, First Minister Arlene Foster told a Stormont press conference people could still arrange to meet people outside of their households in pubs. “Yes, you can meet your friends in a public house, because the mitigations are in place to deal with all of those issues around social distancing and hand hygiene,” she said. The rules on table limits apply to indoor venues only. The new regulation is part of a raft of new rules for hospitality venues – terms for being permitted to operate. In a document obtained by BBC News NI, Tourism Northern Ireland outlined the legally enforceable rules. They include: No table can seat more than six persons from two separate households. Children under 12 are not counted within the party of six, but must be from either of the two households – this is the only circumstance in which tables of larger than six are permitted; Businesses must ensure there is no dancing; Live music and DJs are not permitted; Names and telephone numbers must be collected for contact tracing. Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster, told BBC News NI it would be challenging to enforce. “We can only take the word of customers that they are compliant,” he said. “It will also impact on things like business lunches, and will be very limiting for any sort of Christmas party.”

Shaftesbury – 41% of rents have been collected: West End pub and restaurant landlord Shaftesbury, which owns a 16-acre portfolio in the heart of London’s West End, has reported 41% of rents due for the six months to 30 September 2020 have been collected, 10% are expected to be subject to deferred collection arrangements, 23% are being waived and 26% remain outstanding at 11 September 2020. The company stated: “Since the relaxation of government restrictions began to take effect from late June, the West End has seen a gradual recovery in footfall with the return of local and domestic leisure visitors and its office-based workforce. After an extended period of closure, most of our 611 restaurants, cafés, pubs and shops have now reopened. Bespoke packages of rental and other measures to support their recovery in place and being extended to the end of 2020. However, responding to the recent sharp rise in UK covid-19 infection rates, the government is now re-introducing national and localised restrictions, with a risk that further measures may be implemented until the situation is brought under control. Enquiries for commercial space continue but at a considerably lower volume than we would normally expect at this time of year.” Brian Bickell, chief executive, said: “The course of the pandemic in the short and medium term will continue to dictate the extent of restrictions imposed by the UK and other governments to contain the spread of the covid-19 virus, with implications for the global economy and the pace of recovery. As an international destination, local trading conditions in the West End will inevitably be affected by these macro uncertainties. Longer term, the exceptional qualities and features of London and the West End provide firm foundations for recovery as pandemic disruption recedes. Their long history of embracing change, dynamism, creativity and their enduring global appeal will be their most important strengths in a post-pandemic world of new priorities, expectations and patterns of activity. Against this backdrop, and with the benefit of our experienced, entrepreneurial and innovative management team, we remain confident in the long-term prospects for our exceptional portfolio and business.”

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