All Bar One owner Mitchells & Butlers is burning through between £30 million and £35 million every four weeks during the current national lockdowns and restrictions, bosses have said.
They added that the business had a cash balance of just £113 million as of January 16, with all facilities drawn, and needs to make a £51 million interest payment on its debts by March 15.
The dire warning came as the company announced the formal launch of a £351 million fundraising exercise to prop up its balance sheet, calling it “critical for the continued operation of the group and its immediate financial stability”.
The company, which also owns Toby Carvery and Harvester, also revealed it has agreed with pension trustees to delay monthly contributions from January to March. They will resume from April.
In the period from September 27 2020 to January 16 this year, sales were 69.8% below the previous year, the firm added.
On a like-for-like basis for sites when open, excluding periods of closure, trading was 30.1% down on the year before across the same period.
We are hopeful that pubs and restaurants will soon be allowed to reopen safely so that we can start to serve our customers againPhil Urban, Mitchells & Butlers
A consortium of three of its largest investors have previously said they will be able to make the whole £351 million available for the fundraising launched on Monday.
Piedmont, Elpida Group and Smoothfield joined forced to create a new holding company, Odyzean, holding 55% of the company.
Without the commitments, a £150 million bank loan would not have been available, meaning the company can continue to hold out until the end of any restrictions, although further funding may be needed.
Mitchells & Butlers chief executive Phil Urban said: “M&B was a high-performing business coming into the pandemic and, with the support of our main stakeholders, including the equity injection from this open offer, we have every confidence that we can emerge in a strong competitive position once current restrictions are lifted.
“The hospitality industry has done everything that has been asked of it to date and, now that the vaccines are being rolled out and infections are dropping, we are hopeful that pubs and restaurants will soon be allowed to reopen safely so that we can start to serve our customers again.”
Odyzean said it is fully supportive of the current management team but that it plans to review the current composition of the board of directors.