City Centre takes £20m hit in brands writedown

City Centre Restaurants, the troubled multi-brand operator, which runs the Deep Pan Pizza and Garfunkels chains, has had to take a hit of £20m in its accounts after writing down the value of some of its struggling brands.

City Centre saw its pre-exceptional profits before tax drop almost 12% last year despite a rise in turnover of 6%. The results, which were below analysts' expectations, saw pre-exceptional profit before tax for the year ended December 31, 2000 down to £15.97m from £18.08m, while turnover rose to £217.6m from £205.3m. EBITDA before expectionals was up to £33.2m from £31m.

The company has had to write down the value of some of its brands with a one time pre-exceptional item of £21.6m. This included a "diminution of the carrying value of assets" at Deep Pan Pizza and OK Diners, as well as £1.15m on payouts to executives on termination of employment and fees for corporate advice. In October last year City Centre lost James Naylor, its chief executive. OK has now been sold to its management.

Frankie & Benny's opened 10 new restaurants over the past year and saw turnover and profits up 33% and 42% respectively.

Like-for-like sales were up 1%. The company plans to open 12 new sites in 2001.

Garfunkel's and Airport restaurants, which include three Café Metro and three Caffé Uno sites had a successful year with like for like sales up 3.7%.

Chiquito's results were in line with expectations with like-for-like sales declining by 2.2%.

Results were affected by the 24-week closure of its Leicester Square flagship site for refurbishment.

Est Est Est saw like-for like sales fall by 3.1% and profits decline by 22.3% while Wok Wok turnover rose 28%.

Like-for like sales for Wok Wok were down 4.4% and profits were down by 2.9%.

Both brands are under now under new management.

The company plans to open

new restaurants this year and 22 in 2002 as it concentrates on fewer brands and restrict new openings to its top performers especially Frankie & Benny's.

Capital expenditure for the year was £31.2m.

This included the opening of 26 new restaurants at a cost of £17.3m, rebranding of five restaurants at a cost of £2.4m and refurbishments at £11.5m.