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Byron to shut restaurants as rescue plan approved

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Byron, the struggling burger chain, has won the approval of landlords and creditors for a rescue plan that aims to shut 20 restaurants and slash rental costs.

Hundreds of jobs were placed in jeopardy earlier this month when Sky News revealed that Byron was seeking a so-called company voluntary arrangement (CVA) following a strategic review of the business.

A positive vote on the proposals was needed on Wednesday if new investment by lenders and shareholders was to proceed.
Will Wright, KPMG’s joint CVA supervisor, said: “The creditor vote in favour of the CVA proposal will allow Byron toconclude its previously negotiated financial restructuring and is a key step in the directors’ turnaround plan.
“As with all CVAs, more than 75% of creditors had to vote in favour in order to pass the resolution. The vote saw us secure significantly more than this majority with 99% of all voting creditors choosing to approve the CVA.”
Byron, which currently employs 1,800 people, currently has 76 restaurants.
The restructuring plan – similar to one which saved Toys R Us in the UK before Christmas – will see rent at 20 sites reduced for six months pending crunch talks with landlords over their future, but Byron is minded to shut them.

Image: Toys R Us in the UK has undergone a similar restructuring plan through a CVA
They are Byron’s restaurants in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol, Camberley, Cardiff, Derby, Gateshead Metro Centre, Glasgow, Harrogate, Hoxton Square (London), Leicester, Manchester Corn Exchange, Manchester Deansgate, Spitalfields, Store Street (London), Stratford upon Avon, Wandsworth (London), Westbourne Grove (London), Windsor and Worcester.
Rents at five further restaurants would be reduced by a third under the plan, while bills would stay the same at remaining outlets.
Byron boss Simon Cope said: “Our landlords have been both understanding and positive throughout this process and we look forward to working proactively with them in the coming months.

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“As a result of this restructuring process, a number of our restaurants will close and we will do everything possible to redeploy staff to other sites and initiatives.”
He added: “Byron’s brand and offer remains strong and distinctive, and with a smaller and more efficient restaurant estate we can continue to provide an outstanding burger experience for our customers and to develop and grow a sustainable and innovative business for the long term.”

Source: SKY News