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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 13th Sep 2023 - Four charged over Patisserie Valerie collapse
Four charged over Patisserie Valerie collapse: Four people have been charged in connection with the collapse of Patisserie Valerie in 2018. The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has charged former director and chief financial officer of Patisserie Holdings for 12 years, Christopher Marsh, and his wife, accountant Louise Marsh, as well as financial controller Pritesh Mistry and financial consultant Nileshkumar Lad. All four suspects were served with charges at their homes. The SFO opened a full investigation into the conduct, codenamed “Operation Venom”, in October 2018. This came two days after the company abruptly suspended trading, closing 70 stores and causing the loss of more than 900 jobs across the country when its debts were revealed. The SFO has charged all four suspects with conspiring to inflate the cash in Patisserie Holdings’ balance sheets and annual reports from 2015 to 2018, including by providing false documentation to the company’s auditors. During this time, the company also reported holding £28m in accounts, yet concealed £10m in debts from its investors and creditors. The defendants are summoned to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 10 October 2023 to hear the charges against them. Lisa Osofsky, director of the SFO, said: “Patisserie Valerie’s abrupt collapse rocked our high streets – leaving boarded-up shops, devastating job losses and significant investor losses in its wake. Today is a step forward in getting to the bottom of this scandal.” At the time of its collapse, Patisserie Valerie, which listed on AIM in 2014, had 206 cafes. At one point it was valued at more than £450m. Part of the business was sold to Irish private equity firm Causeway Capital in 2019. Patisserie Valerie features in the Propel Multi-Site Database, which is available exclusively to Premium subscribers. The comprehensive database, which is produced in association with Virgate, 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 now features 2,943 companies. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £995 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £495 plus VAT for operators and £595 plus VAT for suppliers. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to upgrade your subscription.

Seven Bro7hers closes crowdfunding campaign after raising more than £500,000 to take business ‘to next level’: Manchester brewer and retailer Seven Bro7hers has closed its campaign on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube after raising more than £500,000 and said it will allow the business to be taken to the “next level”. The company – founded in 2014 by McAvoy brothers Guy, Keith, Luke, Daniel, Nathan, Kit and Greg – returned to Crowdcube at the start of August, looking to raise £250,000 to support its expansion plans, including the opening of new bars. Seven Bro7hers was offering 2.5% equity in return for the investment, giving the business a pre-money valuation of £12m. It has now closed the campaign having raised £504,242 from 603 investors. Seven Bro7hers operates five bars and is due to open two more venues in 2023. The company plans to use the funds to open further sites, expand production and build a team to help the company secure a new home. The business has previously raised more than £1m on Crowdcube during two separate crowdfunding campaigns in 2019 and 2020. Seven Bro7hers stated: “We will be able to ensure we reach the heights we’ve set. We will implement our plans for a bigger and faster canning line, ensure we're capable of supplying demand. This raise is the platform to the next level, which is building our next forever home. A new brewery that will be here for generations.” The business has confirmed it will open a new bar and microbrewery at the upcoming new Central Bay development in Salford’s MediaCity. Named 11 Central after the families’ seven brothers and four sisters, the bar will offer visitors a mix of drink, food, live music, bar games and waterside views from the terrace, as well as gin making classes.

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