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Thu 27th Nov 2014 - La Tasca stems LfL sales decline, boosts site Ebitda
La Tasca stems like-for-like sales decline: Tapas chain La Tasca, led by Simon Wilkinson, has reported that it stemmed like-for-like sales decline to 0.4% in the year to 23 February 2014, compared to a drop of 2.5% the year before. Much better margins and site cost control saw site Ebitda improve by 11% (2013: -25.3%), a revival that has continuers in the first six months of the current financial year (see lower down for detail). The company has 44 sites in the UK and five in the US, where there was a declining sales performance of 5.5% (2013: +4.2%). The sales decline led to an Ebitda decline of 48% in the US (compared to a 31% increase in 2013). Overall turnover was £44,954,000 compared to £50,913,000 the year before. The operating loss reduced to £1,018,000 compared to £3,941,000 before exceptional items the year before. Overall loss was £1,743,000 compared to £7,229,000 in the year prior. The UK company continues to carry the cost of the Company Voluntary Arrangement, which was entered into in the previous period, for rates and service charge of those properties yet to be re-let, to the extent that there is an expected outflow, which is fully provided for, of £785,000 in the next financial year. The company’s banks Kaupthing and Commerzbank have provided new loan facilities through to 30 June 2016, in a debt-for-equity swap. This replaces the previous loan facility of £38.9m. Total new committed facilities are £6m with an additional facility of £1.5m available. “This re-financing has considerably strengthened the group balance sheet and deleveraged the business,” the company stated. “The directors consider that the cash flow forecast for the group as a whole shows that the group is expected to operate within its facilities at least for the next 12 months.” The company has a turnover of £37,880,000 in the UK (2013: £43,425,000) and £7,074,000 in the US (2013: £7,488,000). Staff numbers reduced to 1,207 in the year from 1,427 the year before. Two sites were sold to third parties in the period for £270,000, a profit of £227,000. Since the year-end, a number of sites have been sold for premiums in excess of impaired values, which has led to a reversal of previous impairment charges in the amount of £915,000. Kaupthing now owns 47.95% of the company’s equity while Commerzbank owns 37.05%. In September, La Tasca launched its new menu, which sees its biggest change since it switched from 85% frozen to 85% fresh in a radical menu overall of October 2012. Wilkinson said at the time: “August saw the half-way point of our current financial year and, with like-for-like UK Ebitda up 88% after six months, the business continues to flourish and grow ahead of expectations. We are very close to adding more new sites following the Leadenhall acquisition and the site at the NIA Birmingham, which is due to open in December. Christmas bookings are currently well ahead of the same point last year and we have just signed a deal to put a range of over 14 different products across over 300 supermarket stores, so the business is very buoyant.”
 
Giraffe Concepts reports loss in first year of Tesco ownership: Giraffe Concepts has reported turnover was up in the 48 weeks to 23 February to £44,486,245, compared to £44,242,822 in the 52 weeks to 24 March 2013. It made an operating loss of £147,104 compared to an operating loss of £4,769,95 the year before. The financial year-end has been changed to fall in line with the parent company. 

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