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Byron on the brink of collapse

Emma Lunn
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Emma Lunn

The burger chain has filed a notice to appoint administrators – but is still pinning its hopes on a rescue deal.

Burger restaurant Byron looks likely to be the next victim of the coronavirus pandemic as its owners prepare to place the company into administration.

Byron is majority-owned by private equity firm Three Hills Capital Partners which hopes to find a buyer to purchase parts of the business in a so-called pre-pack administration.

Pre-pack administration is a formal insolvency procedure in which a company arranges to sell all or some of its assets to a pre-determined buyer before appointing an administrator to facilitate the sale.

Byron was founded in 2007 and has 1,200 staff and 52 restaurants across the UK. Most of its employees have been furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme as its restaurants remain closed, with just a couple of branches offering deliveries via Deliveroo.

Accountancy firm KPMG has been trying to sell Byron since early May but has attracted no bids to buy the chain as a going concern. However, Byron’s owners are believed to be in talks with three potential buyers, who could buy parts of the firm such as its brand name or some of its restaurants.

Byron recorded a turnover of £70.9m last year, with a gross profit of £31.6m.

It’s not the only restaurant chain struggling with lockdown. The Restaurant Group, which owns Frankie & Benny’s, has announced it will shut 125 of its restaurants in a restructuring deal.

Casual Dining Group, which owns Café Rouge, also filed a notice to appoint administrators in May.