Patisserie Valerie shares suspended as black hole found

12 October, 2018, 17:40 | Author: Regina Silva
  • Patisserie Holdings has been notified of 'significant and potentially fraudulent accounting irregularities'

The company, which owns the Patisserie Valerie brand, said that the irregularities "may lead to a material change in its overall financial position" as they could imply a material mis-statement of the firm's accounts.

Primarily based in the United Kingdom, in Ireland the café and cake shop has two stores in Dublin - in Debenhams on Henry Street, and in Debenhams in Blanchardstown.

It relates to a £1.14 million tax bill.

The company said on Thursday that investigations over the last 24 hours had prompted it to conclude that there was "a material shortfall between the reported financial status of the business and the current financial status of the business".

Later on Wednesday, Patisserie Holdings said it had received a winding-up petition for its principal trading unit Stonebeach, with a hearing now scheduled for October 31.

The company confirmed this on Wednesday and revealed that finance director Chris Marsh had been suspended.

Reports suggest the company has uncovered a black hole in its accounts of up to £20 million.

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As a effect, its shares with suspended from trading on AIM, the Alternative Investment Market while it "conducts a full investigation with its legal and professional advisors into its true financial position".

"The company continues to engage with its professional advisers to understand better the financial position of the group and will make further announcements in due course".

In a separate statement a few hours later, the company said it had learned that Britain's HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) had on September 14 filed a winding up petition against its main trading subsidiary, Stonebeach Limited, over 1.14 million pounds the tax office says it is owed.

Patisserie Holdings - which had a market value of almost £450m before shares were suspended this week - operates from more than 200 stores.

It made pretax profits of 11.1 million pounds on revenues of 60.5 million pounds in the six months to the end of March, when it said it had 28.8 million pounds of net cash.

Chairman Luke Johnson said: "We are all deeply concerned about this news and the potential impact on the business".

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