Landlords close two Patisserie Valerie sites amid financing crisis

Patisserie Holdings had a market value this week of almost 450 million pounds. Pic Patisserie Valerie

Suspended finance chief of Patisserie Valerie arrested on suspicion of fraud

The future of 200-strong cafe chain Patisserie Valerie was today hanging in the balance as it admitted the business can no longer continue trading without an immediate injection of capital. The company employs roughly 2,500 people across the United Kingdom and is the latest to experience economic hardship in the pre-Brexit economic climate.

'I've never experienced anything like it in my life but we've come through it in this week - I've obviously made a huge personal commitment, I think we have a good business with loyal staff, and I think of it now as back on stable footing.

The finance boss of Patisserie Valerie has been arrested on suspicion of fraud.

Patisserie Holdings, the chain's parent company, chairman Luke Johnson is offering up to £20 million in loans in an effort to keep the company afloat, while it looks to raise £15 million by issuing new shares.

"The money will flow into the business in the coming days", Mr Johnson explained.

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Most of the money raised will be used to repay a £10m bridging loan from executive chairman and 37 per cent shareholder Luke Johnson today, created to give the firm immediate liquidity.

Notices were posted in the windows of two London Patisserie Valerie branches on Friday, with one saying that the closure was a result of non-payment of rents.

British entrepreneur Luke Johnson owns 37 percent of the high street chain's holdings and is now unable to provide the capital requested.

The company said Wednesday that it has an unpaid tax bill of 1.14 million pounds ($1.5 million).

It had been feared that the company could go into administration as soon as this week, with advisers at PwC thought to be on stand-by for a collapse.

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Chairman Luke Johnson said at the time: "We are all deeply concerned about this news and the potential impact on the business".

"Obviously we are going to make some additions to the senior leadership, particularly in finance".

The company said on Wednesday that it has been notified of "significant, and potentially fraudulent, accounting irregularities and therefore a potential material mis-statement of the company's accounts".

Yesterday a spokesman for the firm said: "The company has been made aware that Chris Marsh, who is now suspended from his role as company finance director, was arrested by the police last night and has been released on bail".

The Serious Fraud Office said it had "opened a criminal investigation into an individual".

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