Darwin & Wallace has stated it considered strategic options to provide an exit for its shareholders post-pandemic.

The Imbiba-backed group – which operates nine restaurants within Greater London – said it considered an Aim listing to provide liquidity for existing shareholders and new growth capital for expansion, but ultimately decided against it.

“With the benefit of hindsight and the subsequent market and trading turbulence, this has been proved to have been the correct decision. Most of the exceptional costs referred to in the year relate to the project costs incurred.”

The group has stated it remains committed to both organic growth and acquisitions that fit the portfolio to enhance earnings per share and provide an exit for existing shareholders.

In its latest accounts filed at Companies House, Darwin & Wallace reported £17.5m in sales for the year ended 29 May 2022, compared to £6.2m the prior year. Loss before tax for the period was £1.1m, up from a loss of £110,409 in FY21.

Adjusted site EBITDA was £2.6m in FY22 compared to £2.8m in FY21, when it was supported by the business interruption insurance claim. The company estimates both metrics were significantly impacted by trading restrictions due to the Omicron variant.