Patisserie Valerie shares suspended as black hole found

Irving Hamilton
October 11, 2018

Patisserie Valerie, which specialises in fresh cakes and continental breakfasts, has over 200 cafes around the UK.

It further disclosed that it had just learned of a winding-up petition that had been filed against its main subsidiary relating to more than £1m owed to the United Kingdom tax office.

In a stock market update, parent firm Patisserie Holdings said it has received a winding up petition for its principal trading unit Stonebeach.

Patisserie Valerie has suspended its shares following the discovery of a £20million black hole in its accounts and also suspended its finance chief.

He said: "We are all deeply concerned about this news and the potential impact on the business".

Shares in Patisserie Valerie have been suspended after the company discovered "significant, potentially fraudulent, accounting irregularities".

This has significantly affected the company's cash position and may lead to a "material change" in its overall financial position.

Nationwide, it employs some 2,500 staff.

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It was floated on the AIM stock market, for smaller companies, in 2014.

In 1987 the Scalzo family bought the Old Compton Street store and ran the business.

As a effect, its shares with suspended from trading on AIM, the Alternative Investment Market while it "conducts a full investigation with its legal and professional advisors into its true financial position".

In the statement, it said: "The company and its advisors are in communication with HMRC with the objective of addressing the petition".

"Without an immediate injection of capital, the directors are of the view that that is no scope for the business to continue trading in its current form".

Shares in the company, which is 37%-owned by entrepreneur Luke Johnson, were suspended before trading on Wednesday.

Mr Johnson is a serial entrepreneur who has enjoyed huge success with restaurant chains including Pizza Express - and this year, he has tried to engineer takeovers of others such as Gaucho, which collapsed into administration during the summer.

In 2001 he co-founded Risk Capital Partners, which owns stakes in companies including Majestic Bingo and swimming goods firm Zoggs.

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