Restaurants

Pizza Express owner to inject £80m into business

The Chinese owner of embattled restaurant chain Pizza Express is to inject £80m into the business, as it aims to pay off its vast amount of debt.

Hony Capital, which acquired Pizza Express in 2014, said the money will be used to pay down some of its debt to bondholders. The company is also looking to secure a £20m corporate overdraft which is due for renewal in nine months.

Pizza Express currently has debts of around £1.1bn, with £665m owed to bondholders that must start receiving payment by 2021.

In an update released yesterday (6 November) the company said that for the 13-week period between July 1, 2019 and September 29, 2019, group revenue increased by £1.6m (1.2%) to £138.6m, with like-for-like sales broadly stable at 0.2% and 0.9% on a constant currency basis.

Group EBITDA was £19.6m, down £1.9m (8.7%) and EBITDA margin was 14.1%, down 160bps, largely in line with the first half of the year.

It added that in its UK and Ireland segment, year-to-date performance continues to be “impacted by a number of market and macroeconomic factors,” including “fragile consumer confidence” and “ongoing uncertainty around Brexit”.

During the 13-week period, it opened three new wholly owned sites and closed one site which meant that its UK and Ireland estate stands at 477 wholly owned restaurants and five franchise sites.

Pizza Express said approximately 95% of its UK and Ireland restaurants are profitable and it has no plans for closures outside the normal course of business.

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