PizzaExpress might be taken over by its lenders

PizzaExpress could well be in line to be taken over by its lenders in a debt-for-equity swap with owner Hony Capital, according to the Financial Times.

Such a move is likely to include closures, though that such action has not yet been confirmed and remains speculative.

It would be fair to say that the company is on unstable ground, however.

The FT reported that the investors behind the £465m worth of bonds that back the company are in talks with PizzaExpress’ Chinese owners and such talks may result in them taking ownership of the business.

As part of the reported restructuring, it could be that PizzaExpress pursues a Company Voluntary Agreement, which will mean the closure of some of the restaurant chain’s 450 UK sites.

Hony Capital acquired PizzaExpress in 2014 and has lent the brand around £500m, with another £607.7m owed to external creditors, according to the company’s 2018 annual report.

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