Brighton Pier Group details cash-saving measures

The Brighton Pier Group has secured £5m in loans in order to shore up cash during the pandemic. 

Both term loans are for a period of two years and nine months, and are in addition to the group’s existing term debt and revolving credit facility. A loan repayment holiday on the existing facilities has also been agreed to the end of June 2021.

It comes as the group has announced what further measures it is taking to significantly reduce costs and preserve cash until trading resumes.

All management and staff have agreed to take pay cuts for the duration of closures, whilst the group has also utilised the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and furloughed 490 staff. 

A quarterly VAT payment for March 2020 has been deferred to March 2021, and the group has also received support from creditors, who have extended credit terms for amounts outstanding at the date that its venues closed.

In a statement, Brighton Pier Group said: “These actions to conserve and raise cash have been possible with the considerable support of the group’s staff, landlords, suppliers, bankers and the Government.

“Looking beyond these mandatory closures towards a return to normal trading, the group is confident that its pier, bars and golf businesses remain well invested, strongly cash generative and well positioned for future growth.”

The group owns and trades Brighton Palace Pier, as well as twelve premium bars and eight indoor mini-golf sites across the UK.

After closing its sites on 20 March in line with government instructions, the group expects that these closures will “materially impact” its financial results for the period ending 28 June 2020.

The subsequent period may also be affected if mandatory closures or social distancing measures continue into the summer and beyond, it warned. 

Anne Ackord, CEO of the group, said: “The United Kingdom and especially the leisure and hospitality industry have had to endure significant challenges over the last three months in its efforts to assist with fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am very grateful for the continued support given to us by Barclays, who have been at our side throughout these difficult months and also to our many suppliers and landlords. It’s important for me to say how much we value these partnerships.”

She added: “Most of all, I want to say a big thank you to all our staff at every level of the business for the way they have responded to these unprecedented events.

“We are ready to progress with the safe re-opening of our businesses, which must necessarily follow the steps set out in the Government’s ‘Covid-19 recovery strategy. Whilst the timing will depend on a number of factors which remain uncertain, getting back to work is now the focus.”

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