Fears Pizza Express may not reopen some restaurants

PUBLISHED: 10:09 26 May 2020 | UPDATED: 11:20 26 May 2020

Pizza Express in St Benedicts Street which is currently closed due to coronavirus. Pic: Archant

Pizza Express in St Benedicts Street which is currently closed due to coronavirus. Pic: Archant

Pizza Express, with three sites in Norfolk, is planning a “comprehensive review” of its business prompting fears some restaurants will not reopen.

The chain, with two restaurants in Norwich, in the Forum and St Benedicts Street as well as one in King’s Lynn, was struggling with debts of £1.1 billion before the coronavirus outbreak. It is now understood to be considering a company voluntary arrangement restructuring process. This would allow it to not reopen its loss-making restaurants, all currently closed because of lockdown.

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The chain, owned by Chinese private equity firm Hony Capital, has to pay the first instalment of its debt repayments, worth £465 million in secured bonds, by August 2021.

A statement from Pizza Express said: “While planning for the future, we will undertake a comprehensive review of our business encompassing our restaurants. When complete, and hopefully with greater clarity around how our restaurants can reopen safely, we will take the right steps to ensure Pizza Express’ next 55 years are as successful as the last 55 years.”

The chain announced recently it was reopening some of its busiest London restaurants for takeaways.

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