Creditors asked to vote on Pizza Express CVA as it earmarks 73 sites for closure

Pizza Express

Pizza Express has announced a virtual vote early next month to determine the outcome of a CVA regarding the restructuring of the business.

Creditors will vote on a number of measures designed to cut the company’s losses, after it admitted yesterday that the brand had been struggling even before lockdown.

A company statement said: “Although the majority of PizzaExpress’ UK restaurants were trading profitably before lockdown, EBITDA across the estate had been declining for the last three years.”

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The added strain of lockdown, it seems, has caused the company to consider radical cost-saving measures, on which creditors will vote on 4 September.

These include reductions in outstanding arrears, reduced rental agreements, a temporary move from quarterly to monthly rents and other measures.

“Regrettably,” the statement added, “the CVA proposals also include the permanent closure of 73 restaurants, which will impact 1,100 team members.”

The chain noted that closures will not affect its branches outside of the UK.

Clare Boardman and Daniel Butters of Deloitte LLP have been appointed as Nominees to the CVA.

Zoe Bowley, UK & Ireland managing director, commented: “The announcement of the CVA proposal today follows a period of constructive dialogue with the British Property Federation and a broad range of our landlords. We have taken onboard their feedback and accommodated their requests as far as possible. Unfortunately, the impact of the global pandemic has meant that we have had to make some incredibly tough decisions to safeguard PizzaExpress for the long term.

“Today we have confirmed that 73 of our pizzerias are proposed to close permanently. In most cases, there is another PizzaExpress nearby, either already open or reopening soon, to welcome our customers.

“Our focus is on our people whose jobs are impacted and we will be doing everything we can either to redeploy them or to support them in finding roles elsewhere. Hard as this process is, it will protect the jobs of over 9,000 of our colleagues and provide a strong footing for PizzaExpress to meet future challenges and opportunities.”

See below for more details on the chain’s initial decision earlier this month to restructure the business:

Pizza Express puts itself up for sale and confirms 15% of its UK restaurants face closure

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Sam Lewis

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