Written by: Keith Tully
Published: 14th February 2019
The bakery chain business Patisserie Valerie has been acquired out of administration by an Irish private equity firm called Causeway Capital Partners.
Hopes are that the deal will result in all 96 Patisserie Valerie stores being kept open and its almost 2,000-strong workforce maintained in employment around the country.
The company called in administrators on January 22nd, having failed to reach agreements with creditors in recent weeks and after it was found to have a very sizeable black hole in its finances towards the end of last year.
A police fraud investigation focussed on the details of Patisserie Valerie’s finances remains ongoing, with regulators also looking closely at the audit firm Grant Thornton’s oversight of its accounts.
In October 2018, the bakery company’s directors said that they had been made aware of “significant, and potentially fraudulent, accounting irregularities,” after being issued a winding up petition by HMRC.
It was soon established and revealed by Patisserie Valerie bosses that there was a “material shortfall between the reported financial status and the current financial status of the business”.
The future for the bakery chain has been uncertain ever since with directors of the company struggling to find a solid financial footing and eventually taking the company into administration.
Steve Francis, who was appointed as chief executive of Patisserie Valerie’s in late 2018, has welcomed the acquisition deal now done with Causeway Capital.
The new managers of the company are understood to be among those currently investing in it, with the brand name Patisserie Valerie expected to be retained going forward.
“We are delighted to welcome Causeway Capital as our partners in Patisserie Valerie, ending a disruptive period of uncertainty for the business,” Mr Francis said in a statement.
“The affection and loyalty for the brand among our customers and employees, and Causeway Capital’s enthusiasm and support for the business, creates for us the foundations for an exciting future for the business.”
Matt Scaife from Causeway Capital has described Patisserie Valerie as being a “heritage brand, much loved by its loyal customers.”
“This investment should mark the end of a turbulent period for customers and suppliers alike,” he said.
The price paid for the company by Causeway Capital has not been disclosed.