Lord Sugar, the Amstrad computer magnate of the 1990’s, and TV star for “The Apprentice” is also a large commercial landlord. His clients include Pret a Manger and Caffe Nero.
Caffe Nero is working on a voluntary administration called a ‘CVA’ to keep its business going. Under a CVA, the business makes arrangements to pay back creditors.
However, Lord Sugar, among others is not happy with the way that deal is being structured. In essences, it appears the rent will be paid ongoing on a turnover basis, meaning the landlords payments will vary in accordance with the level of business the company is doing at each location.
However, the majority of outstanding rent will be forfeit under the deal, which is a concern to the landlords, and may be a stumbling block to the CVA being agreed.
The last published Balance Sheet, now called a Statement of Financial Position, is for the year 2018/2019 and we can see from it that the business had Net liabilities of £69m ($94m) before the lockdown. The company was clearly trying to reduce their debts when COVID hit, and no doubt this weakened financial position severely limited their ability to ride out the lockdown.
In addition to managing the CVA, the company is also seeing off hostile takeover attempts from the ISSA brothers, which have tried a number of tactics that would allow the brothers to seize control of the business.