Byron warns it could need another rescue deal

By Sophie Witts

- Last updated on GMT

Byron warns it could need another rescue deal
The Byron burger chain has admitted it could need an additional cash injection to stay afloat if it is unable to improve struggling sales.

Since the start of the year the group has closed 17 restaurants and is considering shutting a further two after entering in to a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA).

Byron, which is left with around 50 restaurants, has launched a turnaround plan which includes a “complete overhaul” of its design, service, supply chain and menu – including expanding its range of vegan and vegetarian options.

However, its latest financial results published on 25 July indicate the "better burger" pioneer is not out of the woods just yet. It warns that “further deterioration” in trading conditions could result in “liquidity problems” for the company.

Byron said it would look to obtain funding from “external sources if necessary” but there was a risk the company could go under if it was unable to do so.

“[Trading] conditions continue to be difficult and there is a risk that forecast sales/cost savings will not be achieved or, if required, the company will not be able to raise additional funding,” the results said.

“These matters give rise to material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt over the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

Ongoing issues

In February Byron received a £35m investment, £25m of which was used to pay its external bank debts, while £9.5m was pumped in to the company.

Accounts for the year to 25 June 2017 show Byron made a post-tax loss of £54.7m, compared to a profit of £0.1m in 2016.

In July 2016 the company faced protests after dozens of its workers were arrested in a raid by immigration officials.​ The company said it was hit by “negative PR and staffing disruption” which led to “very tough trading” for several months.

A Byron spokesman said: “The liquidity statement in our financial filings is typical for a company in the hospitality sector which has recently undergone a CVA.

"We believe there are sufficient internal and operating opportunities available to Byron to withstand any potential shocks the sector may experience in the near future.”

Byron opened its first site in Kensington in 2007. It was sold to Hutton Collins for £100m in 2013 when it had just 34 restaurants, and almost doubled the size of its estate by 2018.

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