Pizza Express restaurants in Belfast not part of closure plans
PIZZA Express has confirmed its five outlets in Belfast will not be among the 73 restaurants it will permanently close.
The chain has had restructuring plans, which will put 1,100 jobs at risk, approved by creditors.
Pizza Express 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.
Last month, Pizza Express said 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 company has five restaurants in Northern Ireland, all in Belfast.
The restructuring will also see a significant de-leveraging on the group's external debt, reducing it from £735m to £319m.
Around £144m 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 managing director of Pizza Express in Ireland and the UK is Fermanagh-born Zoe Bowley.
The following sites have been earmarked for permanent closure:
Aberdeen - Belmont St
Barnstaple - Three Tuns
Birmingham - Corporation St
Birmingham - Mailbox
Bournemouth - Post Office Rd
Bristol - Berkeley Sq
Bristol - Regent St
Dudley - Merry Hill
Earls Court - Earls Ct Rd
Edinburgh - Holyrood
Fulham Palace Road
Glasgow - Princes Square
Ipswich - Lloyds Ave
Leeds - Crown St
Leeds - Horsforth
Milton Keynes - Hub
Newport - Isle of Wight
Newport - South Wales
Nottingham - Goosegate
Oxford - Oxford Castle
Reading - St Mary's Butts
Sheffield - Devonshire St
Sheffield The Moor
Southport - Old Bank