Coffee Republic has said that, for the first time in many years, the company is to be debt-free.
This effectively means that the brand can celebrate its thirteenth birthday this week with the opening of its 200th branded outlet without looking over its shoulder.
The essence of today's news is that Coffee Republic has reached a ‘debt compromise' arrangement with Barclays, to be satisfied by a single payment. To fund the move, Coffee Republic will be completing a placing of around two-and-a-half million new shares at 30p per New Ordinary Share.
The chairman and chief executive officer Peter Breach and vice-chairman Steven ‘Barty' Bartlett will participate in the share placing.
What the City delightfully calls their ‘concert party' currently owns 27.41% of the shares, and the general rule is that any party owning 30% of shares must make a general offer to buy out other shareholders.
In this case, as Bartlett (who led the regeneration of the brand) and Breach have received no pay for two years, shareholders are being asked to waive this requirement if the two directors' acquisition of more shares takes them over the 30% limit.
Meanwhile, Coffee Republic will celebrate its 13th birthday this Friday and Saturday and, at certain stores, will be handing out free coffee cake made with the brand's original blend.
The brand is also opening its 200th branded site, which is expected to be in Liverpool. These sites include the ‘Coffee Republic served here' in-store concessions, as well as the company's 19 owned sites, 53 franchised sites, and 14 sites abroad.
Our source at the company tells that franchise and concession income has allowed Coffee Republic to cover all of its recent operating costs and that, by wiping out its debt and concentrating more on a franchised model, the brand should now be able to move ahead at a faster pace.
By Ian Boughton