Pattiserie Valerie chairman Luke Johnson admitted that the chain was just three hours away from bankruptcy before he initiated a rescue package that saw him pledge up to £20m in new loans to the business.
At what has been described as a “fiery” shareholder meeting yesterday, Mr Johnson revealed just how close the company was to collapsing after uncovering a £40m black hole in its accounts.
At a meeting in London, 99% of shareholders voted in favour of a £20m cash injection as Mr Johnson insisted that its immediate crisis was over.
“I would like to reassure you that we are doing everything we can to address the situation and to get to the bottom of what happened, safeguard the company and secure its future prosperity. It will not be easy but we are determined to succeed.”
A minority of shareholders accused Johnson of rushing the process of raising cash and called for a rights issue.
The Evening Standard quoted one shareholder as saying: “I have a stake in a company that is subject to bad management and subject to malevolence. If we get new shareholders, frankly, I want the company to go to hell.”
Mr Johnson is the largest shareholder in Patisserie Holdings, with a reported 37% stake.
An internal investigation into the accounting irregularities is continuing. The Serious Fraud Office is also carrying out its own review.
CFO Chris Marsh was suspended by the company early last month. He resigned his position last week.
The company’s shares remain suspended indefinitely.