Economy

Pizza Express lining up for painful debt restructuring

In recent years Pizza Express has looked to expand beyond its core United Kingdom restaurant business - by partnerships with supermarkets and Deliveroo in the United Kingdom and by looking at growth overseas.

The chain is preparing for talks with creditors over its huge debt - which totalled £1.12 billion according to its latest company accounts.

The group's most recent accounts show the chain's total debt was £1.12 billion at the end of a year ago - working out at £1.79 million a restaurant.

The business, which has a restaurant in Cathedral Square, Peterborough, is said to be blaming 'tough trading conditions for United Kingdom restaurant chains'.

Bloomberg reported that advisers will sit down with creditors in a bid to organise the company's debts, which now stand at £665 million.

Pizza Express appears destined for a debt restructuring that could bruise its lenders, as sources with knowledge of the situation played down concerns it was in financial difficulty.

The company, which has around 600 restaurants and thousands of employees, was initially started by restaurateur Peter Boizot but in 2014 was sold to Chinese private equity group Hony Capital. This could involve certain sales or profit expectations.

Then Jinlong Wang, group chairman and chief executive, had stated: "Intense competition in the casual dining sector encourages innovation and we are constantly seeking ways to increase appeal to new and existing customers".



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