Loungers has announced that its lending banks have approved a 12-month extension to the incremental £15m revolving credit facility (RCF) that was place in place in April 2020.

The facility now runs to October 2022 and provides the neighbourhood café, bar and restaurant operator with total RCFs of £25m, strengthening its financial and liquidity position as its prepares to return to its run-rate of 25 new site openings per year.

Covenant tests in April this year have been waived and subsequent quarterly tests until 26 December 2021 have been re-set to provide appropriate headroom to enable a full resumption of the company’s new site roll-out programme, it said in an update on the London Stock Exchange this morning.

Loungers is looking to take a phased approach to reopening from Monday, with 47 sites to open in England on 12 April, for takeaway and some outside trading, and five sites to open in Wales on 26 April on the same basis.

As long as the 17 May roadmap date is confirmed, it will reopen all its English sites on that date and the remainder of its Welsh venues later in May, once confirmation of reopening dates have been given by the Welsh government.

The business is also looking to open four new Lounge sites – in Wolverhampton, Stourbridge, Welwyn Garden City and St Ives – by 26 May, which would bring the estate to 172 sites in total.

Loungers said that during the time its sites have been closed during lockdown it has continued to focus on evolution within the Lounge and Cosy Club brands and has undertaken targeted investment in its sites.

Nick Collins, chief executive, Loungers, said: “We expect to trade well once the estate is fully re-opened, particularly with our strong coastal presence as we look forward to a summer of staycationing. Planned new openings in Blackpool, Scarborough and Aberystwyth ahead of the summer holidays will reinforce this position.

“The most recent lockdown has given us a real opportunity to build a fantastic pipeline of new sites in what is undoubtedly a tenant-friendly environment. We will approach the coming months cautiously but are very keen to get back to opening 25 sites a year at the earliest opportunity with such excellent properties being presented to us, and we are grateful to Santander and Bank of Ireland for their continued support.”

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