Utopian Leisure, the four-strong pub, nightclub and restaurant group led by Bob Senior, breached its bank covenants in 2010 as losses increased. The Newcastle-based group negotiated a new £7.92m loan in October 2009, subject to a series of covenants. “The group is not in compliance with these covenants, and as a result the total loan balance has been classified as falling due within one year,” the company said in its FY 2010 accounts, published at Companies House. “The group’s bankers have continued to support the group by not demanding repayment of the bank loans and positive negotiations are continuing to renegotiate the terms of the bank loans. However, the directors have no commitment of continuing support from its bankers.” Senior told M&C Report: “I’m busy having conversations with the bank at the moment. They are quite supportive and recognise the difficulties that we faced affected the whole sector.” Utopian’s losses for the year increase from £736,863 to £1,623,673 on turnover down 4.7% to £8,924,058. Ebitda was £120,000 (2009: £1.108m). Bank borrowings at the year end were £8.41m (2009: £7.935m). Operating profit of £100,551 in 2009 was turned into an operating loss of £759,887 for the firm, which also operates two food takeaways. Cashflow from operating activities fell 32% to £765,545. The company closed one takeaway outlet in the year. Senior said the company lost between £320,000 and £340,000 due to the heavy snow at the end of 2010. “In November and December the snow made it all-but impossible to get around. I think the north east got the snow worse than in some areas, it was all pretty badly affected. That sucked out a bit of the profitability.” Despite the setbacks, unit sales increased 3% on a like-for-like basis, according to the results. However, exceptional items in the year included a £382,495 impairment charge on investments, while staff social security costs increased from £43,184 to £152,000. Renumeration for the highest paid director fell from £264,096 to £144,750. Senior described trading in 2011 as “ok”, but said the decent summer weather has dented business because its venues generally perform less well when the weather is good. The royal wedding bank holiday also hit trade because people used the extra days off to go on holiday, Senior added.

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