Wagamama owner burning through £5.5m each month of Covid closures

Henry Saker-Clark, PA City Reporter
·2 min read

Wagamama owner The Restaurant Group (TRG) said it is burning through £5.5 million each month its venues remain shut and that it has secured a new loan to shore up its finances.

Shares in the company soared higher on Monday morning after it revealed £500 million in new debt facilities.

TRG, which also owns Frankie & Benny’s, has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic along with other businesses in the hospitality industry.

All of its 400 or so restaurant sites are currently shut to sit-down customers and will not be able to welcome customers to eat inside its venues until May 17 at the earliest.

In the update to investors, TRG said it has nevertheless seen “strong recent trading” for delivery and takeaway operations across around 200 of its Wagamama restaurants and sites in its leisure portfolio.

It said sales at the sites has been “very encouraging”, with delivery and takeaway trading at venues up to five times the levels it saw prior to the outbreak of coronavirus.

The group said it is therefore in a good position to deliver an “accelerated reopening plan” for its restaurants to welcome dine-in customers.

It will be able to reopen all of its sites within two weeks of restrictions being lifted, it said.

TRG told shareholders that its net debt was around £340 million at the end of 2020 and it will be buoyed by its new lending agreements.

It has secured a £380 million loan facility until 2026 as well as a £120 million revolving credit facility until 2025.

It comes after the company completed a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) restructuring in June, which saw it cut 3,000 jobs and permanently shut 125 restaurants.

Shares were 8.4% higher at 118p in early trading on Monday.