Burger chain Byron could close up to 20 restaurants as part of a financial rescue proposal.Accountancy firm KPMG, which is handling the restructuring, confirmed the plan, which would also involve cutting rent payments at other outlets.Any deal would need approval from Byron’s creditors, who will vote on the plan on 31 January.Byron, which has more than 70 outlets, employs about 1,800 staff across the UK.KPMG said no restaurants would close immediately under the restructuring plan, and that employees, suppliers and business rates would continue to be paid on time and in full.The restructuring would be carried out under a so-called company voluntary arrangement (CVA).Under the proposal, Byron will ask the landlords of 20 restaurants, including sites in Manchester and East London, to agree to a 55% cut in rent for six months.Restaurants at riskAberdeen
Gateshead Metro Centre
Manchester Corn Exchange
Store Street, London
Stratford upon Avon
Westbourne Grove, London
During this time, Byron hopes to hold talks with landlords “to agree the basis of any continued trading from these premises”.Of its remaining sites, the company will ask the owners of five outlets to agree to a rent reduction equivalent to two-thirds. Byron’s 51 other restaurants will continue to pay rents at the current rate.
Will Wright, restructuring partner at KPMG, said: “Over the last 10 years, Byron has grown to become a stand-out name within the UK’s casual dining sector.”However, in recent times, certain parts of its portfolio have not met expectations, and with gathering economic headwinds starting to impact the sector more profoundly, the directors embarked upon a strategic review of the business as a means of safeguarding its long-term future.”Completion of this financial restructuring…. is designed to tackle the cost of the company’s leasehold obligations across its UK restaurant portfolio.”As with similar CVAs, this arrangement seeks to strike a balance which provides a fair compromise to landlords, while allowing the viable part of the business to move forward across a smaller, more profitable core estate.”The company needs to secure at least 75% creditor approval for its CVA.Last week, House of Fraser confirmed that it was seeking to reduce rents on some of its stores. The department store chain is shortly set to announce its results for the Christmas period.