Pizza Express to close 73 restaurants with loss of 1,100 jobs as CVA is approved

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Around 1,100 jobs will go and 73 restaurants will close at Pizza Express after the chain's restructuring plans were approved by creditors.

The chain said 89% of its creditors voted for its Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) restructuring deal, which will also see it secure rent reductions.

It needed a minimum of 75% of creditors to vote in favour of the deal to give it the green light.

Pizza Express announced the CVA plans last month, saying the slump in revenue caused by the enforced closure of all restaurants during the pandemic, the cost of reopening, and the UK's uncertain economic future meant its rental costs were no longer sustainable.

It is the latest in a raft of chains, including Zizzi-owner Azzurri Group, Byron Burger, and Frankie & Benny's owner The Restaurant Group, to shut sites after being hit by the lockdown.

Pizza Express said it currently has 355 restaurants open in the UK, with more than 30 due to reopen in the coming weeks.

The restructuring will also see a significant de-leveraging on the group's external debt, reducing it from £735 million to £319 million.

Around £144 million of new funds will be pumped into the business to drive future growth.

In a statement, Pizza Express said: "The successful vote unlocks the company's ability to actively address the challenges brought by Covid-19, securing over 9,000 jobs in the UK.

"The directors of Pizza Express thank its creditors for their support during this period and look forward to ongoing partnership as the hospitality industry recovers to growth."

The company, which is majority-owned by Chinese firm Hony Capital, also confirmed last month that it had hired advisers from Lazard to lead a sale process for the business.

The list in full of restaurants set to close:

Aberdeen, Belmont St

Aylesbury

Barnstaple, Three Tuns

Biggleswade

Billericay

Birmingham, Corporation St

Birmingham, Mailbox

Bournemouth, Post Office Rd

Bramhall

Bristol, Berkeley Sq

Bristol, Regent St

Bromsgrove

Bruton Place

Charlotte St

Chippenham

Dalton Park

Darlington

Dudley, Merry Hill

Earls Court, Earls Ct Rd

Edinburgh, Holyrood

Formby

Fulham Palace Road

Glasgow, Princes Square

Glossop

Gosforth

Grantham

Halifax

Hampstead

Hatch End

Hereford

Heswall

Ipswich, Lloyds Ave

Leeds, Crown St

Leeds, Horsforth

Ludlow

Lymington

Melton Mowbray

Midhurst

Milton Keynes, Hub

Moseley

New Brighton

Newcastle, Dean Street

Newport, Isle of Wight

Newport, South Wales

Northallerton

Nottingham, Goosegate

O2 Finchley

Orpington

Oxford, Oxford Castle

Poole

Port Solent

Ramsgate

Reading, St Mary's Butts

Scarborough

Sheffield, Devonshire St

Sheffield The Moor

Shirley

Southport, Old Bank

Stafford

Staines

Stoke

Stourbridge

Sudbury

Torquay

Uxbridge

Wakefield

Walsall

Wapping

Wardour St

Weston-super-Mare

Whiteley Village

Whitstable

Wrexham

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