Gourmet Burger Kitchen made a £2.6m operating loss in the six months to 31 August, the group’s owner Famous Brands has admitted.

The South African listed company was forced to issue a statement ahead of its H1 results announcement, which is due at the end of this month, to say it would recognise a (pre-tax) impairment of £46m at group level.

The H1 loss compares to an £872,000 decline in the same period last year.

Famous Brands did not elaborate any further on the strategic options it has said it is considering for a subsidiary, however it is said to be close to launching a formal company voluntary arrangement (CVA) process.

Analysts in South Africa have urged the company to divest itself of GBK, with Vestact portfolio manager Byron Lotter saying that while the rest of the company was stable, “as expected, GBK ruined the dinner party”.

Gryphon Asset Management portfolio manager Casparus Treurnicht said he “wouldn’t be surprised if they completely exit the GBK operation to rebuild what was a previous success”.

“It is going to take years for Famous Brands to recover from this mishap,” he added.