Abokado’s creditors have overwhelmingly approved a Company Voluntary Arrangement that will safeguard more than 185 jobs.
A sharp reduction in sales in 2019 combined with a sophisticated banking fraud that hit working capital had seen the directors of the healthy grab-and-go chain seek the CVA.
The London-based 23-strong group founded by Mark and Lindsay Lilley offers a menu of sushi, salads, hot pots, breakfast and coffee.
Chief executive Mark said: “Our CVA was voted through by an overwhelming majority. I’d like to thank all our stakeholders for their support. The CVA was vital to protect our strong and profitable core business.
“I’ve been immensely proud of how my management team and the Abokado family as a whole have handled themselves during what has been a difficult period. I know we’re all looking forward to getting back to doing what we love – focusing on our customers and investing in and growing the Abokado brand.”
The group had earlier said that it was likely the CVA would mean the closure of "a number of underperforming sites".
It recorded like-for-like sales up 3% for the year to 31 March 2018, but said that sales softened from autumn 2018 onward. This dip accelerated in 2019.
It added that the fraud was under investigation but that it did not expect to recover any of the cash.
Damian Webb, a partner of RSM Restructuring, added: 'We were delighted to work with the company to secure the approval of this CVA. This restructuring ensures over 185 jobs are maintained and the business is well placed for the future. The 99 per cent support from creditors reflects their approval of the process and the proposals put forward by the company.”