The creditors of healthy fast food chain Leon have approved a plan to restructure the firm's finances through a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), preserving 670 jobs.
Quantuma's Andrew Andronikou and Brian Burke will now act as joint supervisors to oversee the CVA process, as 90% of creditors approved proposals put forward by business advisory firm Quantuma on behalf of Leon.
The CVA is focused on ensuring the business can deal with ongoing uncertainties created by the pandemic, and provide a platform to return to its previous positive trajectory. Creditors have accepted a proposal aligned to turnover-based rents.
The restaurant chain was founded in 2004, and has expanded rapidly to operate 75 sites globally, both owned and franchised. The company-owned restaurants in the UK total 44, in prime locations and transport hubs, predominantly across central London.
In the year to 30 December 2019, Leon achieved revenues of £76.3m, and planned to open 30 new restaurants in 2020, most of which had already been identified.
Despite starting 2020 as a profitable and growing business, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic saw Leon experience a reduction in sales as a result of the significant reduction in the number of city centre workers in offices, limited domestic and international tourists, and the impact of measures designed to limit the spread of the disease.
Andrew Andronikou, managing director at Quantuma, said: "Given the struggles of the retail and casual dining sectors as a result of the pandemic, and being in the run up to Christmas, securing 670 jobs at Leon is a real positive to end the year. We are pleased that the majority of creditors have supported the proposals, which will enable us to work with the business as it recovers and provide a strong foundation from which it can return to the strong growing business it was in 2019.
"The CVA has been structured in a way to support Leon while it continues to be affected by reduced footfall and the ongoing uncertainties as measures continue to be deployed to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, whilst delivering the best possible outcome for creditors."
John Vincent, founder and chief executive of Leon, said: "I would like to thank all the landlords and everyone else who has supported us through this process. This gives us the platform to rebuild Leon and return it to growth."