Abokado appoints administrators with 150 jobs lost

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- Last updated on GMT

Healthy food group Abokado calls in administrators with 150 jobs lost

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Healthy food restaurant group Abokado has appointed administrators, with the loss of around 150 staff.

The group called in administrators Benjamin Wiles and Geoffrey Bouchier of Duff & Phelps after being unable to reopen its London-based estate.

As part of a pre-pack administration sale, in which Abokado co-founder and CEO Mark Lilley acquired the 19-strong operator, all staff have been made redundant.

The administrators had executed an accelerated pre-packaged administration sale to the recently incorporated Montway Holdings, of which Lilley is the sole director and majority owner, according to documents filed to Companies House.

In a statement, Lilley said an attempt was made to sell the company in June, but in light of the “continued uncertainty, the accumulating liabilities and the existing leasehold structures”, the group was unable to secure sufficient funds to reopen.

“The impact of covid-19 on the hospitality and leisure industry has been catastrophic and I feel for each and every business owner and employee within this sector," he said.

"However, for a business such as Abokado, which is entirely dependent on London’s office community, the overnight shift to working from home and the emptying out of central London has been simply devastating. Our market, overnight, ceased to exist.

“It is shocking that our entire 19 stores remain closed. It is a tragedy that our entire workforce, many of whom have families and children to support and some of whom have lived and breathed Abokado for more than a decade, have been made redundant.”

The administration process comes only a year and a half after the group announced significant growth plans. In March 2019 it appointed Kara Alderi ​as its first managing director as part of its growth plans for the business.

However, later that year the company underwent a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) ​saying that it had seen a sharp reduction in sales and suffered a ‘significant sophisticated online banking fraud'. As a result, it closed a number of its underperforming restaurants in the capital that it said did not fit its core business model.

Abokado was founded in 2004 by husband and wife team Mark and Lindsay Lilley.

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