Heart with Smart, the operator of Pizza Hut Restaurants and itsu franchises, has successfully completed the extension of its senior debt until September 2027.

At the same time, the group has appointed a new chief financial officer, with current CFO Andy Platt stepping into semi-retirement, to be replaced by Steve Packer, an existing member of the management team.

In accounts published last year, the company said it was in talks to refinance almost £31m of its £73m debt pile, which was due to mature in April.

Jens Hofma CEO said: “We have always had full confidence that this process would be successfully completed during the first half of 2024 in partnership with Pricoa, our current lenders.

“Apart from ensuring an extension of our senior debt we have also strengthened our balance sheet in other areas – including a new working capital facility - providing a strong foundation for future growth”.

Hofma paid tribute to Andy Platt, who has been a key member of the management team for 16 years, and “steered us expertly through what has been the most challenging economic conditions on record for our sector”.

“Andy has been integral in the successful debt extension process and is now taking the well-deserved opportunity to rebalance work and life.

“It is testimony to our development culture and long-term career planning that Andy will be replaced by Steve Packer - our current chief infrastructure officer - who has a breadth of experience including finance, supply chain management, IT, and, going further back, front line service in our Huts.”

Platt will remain with Heart with Smart for at least the next year providing strategic and transitional support, to help build positive performance momentum and growth opportunities.

Heart with Smart is not due to file its 2023 accounts until later in the summer, but Hofma added there were encouraging trading trends, including a return to profitability for Pizza Hut Restaurants and like-for-like sales growth.

However, he cautioned businesses and consumers were still facing stubborn inflationary pressures this year and the economic crisis is far from over.

“While we have seen a reduction in energy costs, we are having to carefully balance rises in some of our ingredient costs and recent labour inflation with the need to continue to provide great value,” he added.

“It is particularly tough for UK families so we are doing everything we can to minimise passing on price increases to our guests.

“We are continuing to offer ‘all inclusive’ options via our adult and kids meal bundles and our famous unlimited buffet – we want to ensure families can visit us and have a great time within the constraints of the weekly household budget”.