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Tue 26th May 2020 - Revolution extends debt facility with NatWest
Revolution extends debt facility with NatWest: Revolution Bars Group, the operator of 74 premium bars, trading under the Revolution and Revolución de Cuba brands, has extended its debt facilities, to provide ‘sufficient liquidity for the foreseeable future’. The company stated: “As announced on 14 April 2020, the group’s lenders, NatWest, agreed to increase the group’s Revolving Credit Facility from £21.0m to £30.0m until 31 August 2020, following which it would step down to £24.0m. NatWest also agreed to waive all financial covenant tests at March 2020 and June 2020. The board is pleased to announce that, subject to final documentation, NatWest has agreed to further increase the group’s overall debt facilities, utilising the UK government’s CLBILS. NatWest will provide the group with a £16.5m term loan and the facility will remain at £21.0m. The term loan will mature on 30 June 2023, following which it will need to be repaid or refinanced. It will be amortised by £1m per annum with the first repayment occurring in June 2021. The facility has been extended by six months to June 2022, following which it will also need to be refinanced or repaid. The facility will also be reduced by £1m per annum, with the first reduction occurring in June 2021. With the revised facilities in place, the group will have total debt facilities of £37.5m until June 2021 then reducing to £35.5m until at least June 2022. The revised facilities are being provided on normal commercial terms. The group’s net debt position is currently £22m. With the Revised Facilities in place, the board is confident that the group will have sufficient liquidity for the foreseeable future, even taking into account the board’s downside covid-19 trading scenario. As part of the revised facilities, NatWest have also agreed to amend the group’s financial covenants to be based solely on cash headroom, set at a level based on the group’s downside covid-19 trading scenario. In accordance with the terms and conditions of CLBILS, the payment of dividends by the group is prohibited whilst the term loan remains outstanding. The board continues to monitor and assess the group’s current and future financial position and all financing options available to it and will update further when appropriate.” Chief executive Rob Pitcher said: “Again, we welcome and are delighted with the additional support from NatWest. They continue to act as a true partner to our business and this decisive action will enable us to emerge from this crisis in a financially stable position. When restrictions are lifted, we will re-open with much caution – prioritising the health and safety of our employees and guests above all else. However, with the security of a stable financial position and underpinned by our young guest base, we believe that the group is well placed to return to good levels of trading reasonably quickly.”

Famous Brands publishes review of Wimpy and GBK performance: South Africa-based Famous Brands has published a review of its two UK brands, Wimpy and Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK), in the year to 29 February 2020. It stated: “In the uncertain political environment, consumer confidence and spend remained subdued. The shift to online retail and the sustained pressure on traditional brick-and-mortar retailers continued to escalate. Management’s ongoing focus in (Wimpy UK) is to ensure the portfolio is optimally structured and appealing to capitalise on growth opportunities in the constrained economic environment. The network comprises 67 restaurants (2019: 67). The business reported solid results in the year under review, boosted by an increased contribution from the delivery offering, a re-engineered menu and improved sales in revamped restaurants. Revenue in Rand terms increased to R122 million (2019: R113 million). Revenue in Sterling was 4% higher. Operating profit grew by 31% to R23 million (2019: R18 million); while the operating margin rose to 19.0% (2019: 15.7%). The subdued trading environment will continue to weigh heavily on performance; however, following rationalisation of 12 under-performing stores in the prior year and an ongoing revamp programme, the portfolio is more optimally structured for growth. Expanding the delivery offering across the network continues to offer opportunity for growth.” Of Gourmet Burger Kitchen, it stated: “Remedial measures implemented to stabilise the business and return it to profitability gained momentum during the period; however, year-on-year sales continued to decline, aligned with the general trend across the industry. The strategy to leverage opportunities to expand the multi-party delivery platform progressed well, but while online delivery revenue grew, this solid performance was offset by weaker in-store sales in malls and on the high street. GBK UK reported an operating loss before non-operational items of GBP-0.6 million (2019: operating loss of GBP-4.6 million). The operating margin improved to -0.9% (2019: -5.7%). System-wide sales (Sterling) were GBP68.9 million (2019: GBP80.2 million) largely due to the closure of 24 stores as part of the Company Voluntary Arrangement process, eight of which were closed in the review period. GBK UK and Ireland’s combined like-for-like sales increased by 2.7% (2019: decrease of -4.2%). GBK’s network comprises 72 restaurants (2019: 80). Due to the covid-19 global pandemic, on 2 April, the board announced that regretfully, the GBK UK business would henceforth no longer receive financial assistance from the group. This decision followed the deterioration in GBK’s store sales in the UK after year-end due to the covid-19 global pandemic, and the subsequent directive by the governments of the UK and Republic of Ireland to indefinitely close all restaurants in those countries. While various measures of support were offered by the respective governments to the industry to mitigate the economic impact of this decision, the uncertainty regarding resumption of trading was significant cause for concern in both markets.”

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