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Wed 17th Aug 2022 - Update: Cineworld, Nightcap and inflation hits 10.1%
Cineworld evaluating various strategic options to strengthen balance sheet with recent admissions ‘below expectations’: Cineworld has said it is evaluating various strategic options to strengthen its balance sheet with recent admission levels “below expectations”. The company stated: “Despite a gradual recovery of demand since reopening in April 2021, recent admission levels have been below expectations. These lower levels of admissions are due to a limited film slate that is anticipated to continue until November 2022 and are expected to negatively impact trading and the group’s liquidity position in the near term. Consequently, the group has been taking proactive steps to ensure it has the balance sheet strength and flexibility to adapt to market conditions. This includes significant previously disclosed operational and financial initiatives to manage costs and enhance liquidity. The group believes these steps are required to optimise its ability to maximise enterprise value as part of the recovery in the cinema industry. In connection with these initiatives, the group remains in active discussions with various stakeholders and is evaluating various strategic options to both obtain additional liquidity and potentially restructure its balance sheet through a comprehensive deleveraging transaction. Any deleveraging transaction will likely result in very significant dilution of existing equity interests in Cineworld. The group’s business operations are expected to remain unaffected by these efforts and Cineworld expects to continue to meet its ongoing business counterparty obligations. Cineworld continues to welcome guests to its cinemas across its global markets as normal, without disruption. A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate.”

Variety of bar operators set to join updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies: A variety of bar operators are among the 38 new multi-site companies being added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies, which will be released on Friday, 26 August, at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, features Irish bar concept McCafferty’s, which operates six sites in the UK, three sites in Ireland and four internationally, in Dubai and Spain. Also added this month is 1910 Cantina, the Mexican bar and restaurant concept led by Mauricio Rico, which has secured a second London location, at 277 New Kings Road, for a new opening later this year. In addition, Shaker Group, the hospitality consultancy, training and events company that also operates venues including The Orangery, Gas Street Social and Old Rectory House in the Midlands, Shaker & Company in London’s Euston and The Hart at Headless Cross in Redditch, will be featured. Meanwhile, brothers Sam and Tom Benjamin, operators of The Taphouse and Another? Wine Bar in Nottingham, who have recently taken on their third site with a view to creating a high-end cocktail bar and fine dining restaurant, are included. Premium subscribers will also receive a 2,500-word report on the new additions to the database. The comprehensive database is updated monthly and provides company names, the people in charge, how many sites each firm operates, its trading name and its registered name at Companies House if different. The database currently features 2,572 companies. Premium subscribers will also receive the next edition of the New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, on Friday, 2 September, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. The next edition also includes a 10,000-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group. The Blue Book, which is also updated monthly provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. Premium subscribers have also been given exclusive access to the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database, which is an exhaustive guide to the companies offering a food and beverage franchise in the UK and is updated every two months. The third edition features 140 companies and almost 60,000 words of content, providing insight on the offer, locations, cost and other key details. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email to upgrade your subscription. Subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of lockdown videos and Friday Wrap interviews and now also have access to a curated video library of the sector’s finest leaders and entrepreneurs, offering their insights on running outstanding businesses in the sector. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from propel group editor Mark Wingett.

Nightcap agrees £10m debt refinancing facility: Nightcap, the owner of The Cocktail Club, the Adventure Bar Group and the Barrio Familia group of bars, has agreed a £10.0m debt refinancing facility with HSBC. The new debt facility will see the group consolidate its various existing debt facilities, totalling £5.5m, across its businesses. The remaining £4.5m under the new HSBC debt facility is reserved for capital expenditure on the group’s new sites as Nightcap looks to continue to grow its footprint in prime locations, both in London and in key cities across the UK. In addition to the 31 open venues and the three sites in final stages of fit out, the group has a further 22 premises under offer or in legal negotiations across the group’s brands. The company stated: “The new debt facility comprises two tranches: a £3.0m term loan that is repayable over the next three-year period and a £7.0m revolving credit facility. The term loan and the revolving credit facility have interest rates payable of 3% and 3.25% over SONIA respectively, which represent improved interest rate terms compared to the legacy facilities. The group is providing the usual covenants and security for a debt facility of this nature. As announced in the company’s trading update on 4 August 2022, the company’s cash position (including cash in transit) as at 3 July 2022 was £6.1m. Completion of the new debt facility (and therefore the refinancing) is subject to the satisfaction of certain customary conditions precedent.” Sarah Willingham, chief executive of Nightcap, said: “When we listed Nightcap on AIM and embarked on a company and new site acquisition programme last year, we knew that we would want to consolidate our debt facilities with the right banking partner. We have taken our time and at the end of a very competitive process we are delighted to have successfully agreed our group refinancing. The £10m debt facility will support our growth plans for the coming years as we make good on our mission for Nightcap to become the UK’s leading cocktail bar group.”

UK inflation rate hits 10.1% in July: UK inflation has soared to another 40-year high as the cost of living squeeze grips millions of households across the country. The rate of Consumer Prices Index inflation rose to 10.1% in July, up from 9.4% in June, the Office for National Statistics said. The rate is higher than the 9.8% economists had forecast. It means inflation in Britain remains at the highest level since February 1982, and heaps further strain on cash-strapped households and businesses. Energy, food and fuel prices have rocketed amid the painful squeeze on living standards, with many prices increasing in part due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Bank of England warned in May that inflation could hit double digits, adding this could push the economy into an recession lasting more than a year by autumn. Sam Martin, chief executive of Peckwater Brands, said: “Inflation has the hospitality sector caught between a rock and a hard place. On one side, businesses are facing rising costs across their supply chains and operations. On the other side, consumers’ finances are under significant pressure, which will likely affect the amount they spend at takeaways, restaurants, pubs and bars. Given that the pandemic saw more than 10,000 licensed premises lost during lockdown, with 640,000 jobs lost despite government support, the UK cannot afford to let this situation escalate any further. First and foremost, the government must outline a clear plan to get the UK’s economy back on track, as well as a support plan for the hospitality sector. However, such businesses must also be prepared to think outside the box to safeguard their long-term goals.”

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