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Tue 25th Jan 2022 - Corbin & King lines up financial backing from US-based fund amid Minor Hotels dispute
Corbin & King lines up financial backing from US-based fund amid Minor Hotels dispute: London-based restaurant operator Corbin & King is lining up financial backing from US-based fund, Knighthead Capital Management, amid a dispute with Minor Hotels, the hospitality group's biggest shareholder. Sky News reported Knighthead, which reaped a multibillion-dollar paper gain by helping rescue car rental provider Hertz from bankruptcy, is said to have been in talks with Corbin & King co-founder Jeremy King for months. Corbin & King operates nine restaurants, including The Wolseley and The Delaunay. The founders sold a stake initially to Graphite Capital, a private equity firm, and then to Minor Hotels in 2017. Relations between the two sides have been fractious for some time, culminating in a move last week by Corbin & King to bring in an independent monitor to prevent the company being placed into insolvency proceedings. Minor had called in a £35m loan and lined up prospective administrators to the restaurant group, according to insiders. King said: “We have a legal dispute with one of our shareholders and we hope to sort that out soon. The good news is the restaurants are doing well and we are looking forward to a good 2022.” The dispute with Minor is being played out against the backdrop of a separate legal case that has seen Corbin & King suing Axa for refusing to pay out a claim for loss of business during covid-19 lockdowns, with Corbin & King’s denial-of-access claim reportedly worth £4.5m.
Corbin & King features in Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is updated monthly for Premium subscribers and now features more than 500 companies. Corbin & King has turned over an average of £34.0m in the past five years. The Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, provides a five-year overview of turnover and profit, ranks companies according to turnover, pre-tax profit and profit conversion. The latest edition also features group editor Mark Wingett’s next quarterly pick of the companies well-placed to grow in the post-pandemic era. His latest pick of companies are Brakspear, Simmons Bars, Hub Box, Park Holidays, Vaulkhard Leisure, Hostmore, QFM Group, Caprice Holdings and Ivy Collection. The picks are accompanied by a 2,100-word report. The Blue Book also provides details of directors’ earnings and highest paid directors. 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 sign up

Brunning & Price continues new expansion push with Bath acquisition: Brunning & Price, the pub operator owned by The Restaurant Group (TRG), has continued its expansion plans by securing the ground floor space of the old Empire Hotel in Bath’s Orange Grove Close. The space in the grade-II listed building, which was built in 1901, currently houses a Garfunkel’s restaurant. Propel revealed in September that Brunning & Price had begun a push for new sites for its expanding pub-restaurant portfolio, following TRG’s £175m recapitalisation. This followed an announcement by TRG six months earlier that it planned to eventually double the size of the brand’s then 70-strong estate, which now sits at 79 pubs and restaurants. The new venue will be named The Architect after the building’s designer, Bath city architect Major Charles Edward Davis. The company plan to spend the next few months refurbishing and restoring it ahead of a planned summer opening. Mary Willcock, manager director for Brunning & Price, said: “This project will be a joy to work on as the building itself is crammed with history and character. Being foodies, our menu, which will be published on our website each morning, will be something of an eclectic mix, striking a balance of hearty pub classics, complemented by more exotic influences from around the world. It changes regularly and reflects the seasons, but there’s always a mix of traditional British dishes alongside something a little different. We think simple things done well are often the best and we want to create a friendly atmosphere in attractive surroundings where locals, regulars and new customers can meet, eat, drink and relax. That, for us, is what being a good pub in the heart of its community is all about.” 

Britvic backs Only A Pavement Away training cafes: Soft drinks company Britvic has pledged its support to Only A Pavement Away as the charity prepares to open training cafes on high streets across the UK. Britvic has agreed to provide all the soft drinks needed for the cafes, which will offer training and employment opportunities to people facing homelessness, prison leavers and veterans. Launching this spring, Only A Pavement Away training cafes will be open to the public and fully staffed by individuals who want to rebuild their lives through a career in the hospitality industry. Those employed at the cafes will be given on-the-job training from practised management teams and will receive valuable experience working in a customer-focused, food-service environment. All profits made will support those working in the cafe. The ultimate goal is to have an Only A Pavement Away cafe in ten cities by the end of the year to train as many people as possible and help them find employment in the sector. Greg Mangham, founder of Only A Pavement Away, said “Our cafes can only thrive through industry partnerships like this so if you have a site, or a piece of kit or a skill or resource that can help make our cafes a reality, then do get in touch. Our target is to place 250 people into work within the hospitality industry in 2022 – please do commit to helping us make this a reality.” Adam Russell, director of foodservice and licenced at Britvic, added: “Giving people the opportunity to kick-start their careers, or to turn their lives around, is incredibly important to us as a business, and we feel extremely motivated to do all we can to give these people a fresh start.”

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