Rescue loan package for Patisserie Valerie after finance chief arrested
PATISSERIE VALERIE’S chairman has swooped in with a rescue loan package after a black hole in the company’s accounts led to its finance chief being arrested on suspicion of fraud.
Luke Johnson has pledged up to £20m in new loans in order to keep the chain’s parent company Patisserie Holdings afloat after a wind-up order was issued against it by the taxman.
Mr Johnson, a serial entrepreneur, is the largest shareholder in Patisserie Holdings with a 37 per cent stake.
The company also plans to raise as much as £15m through the issue of new shares.
Funds raised through the share placement will be used to pay back around half the money loaned by Mr Johnson, as well as to meet outstanding liabilities including the £1.14m bill owed to HM Revenue and Customs.
In a statement issued to the market yesterday afternoon, Patisserie Holdings said the loans would enable it to continue trading for the “forseeable future”.
It had been feared that the company could go into administration as soon as this week.
The group’s finance director Chris Marsh, who was suspended from his role earlier this week, has been arrested on suspicion of fraud, but was later released.
Hertfordshire Police confirmed a 44-year-old man from St Albans was arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation, and has been released under investigation.
The probe is being led by the Serious Fraud Office.
The arrest was followed by the closure of at least two outlets yesterday. It is understood that the company has failed to pay rents at two premises in London.