Nando's given space to breathe on £300m debt pile

·2-min read
WORCESTER-ENGLAND - MARCH 27: The Nando's logo is seen outside one of its restaurants in Worcester Town Center on March 27, 2021 in Worcester, England . (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
Nandos is among many other restaurants that have struggled under prolonged COVID lockdowns. Photo: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Nando's has been given a stay of execution from its lenders, as the chicken restaurant has avoided defaulting on a £300m ($425.7m) debt pile. 

The Telegraph reported last night that banks including NatWest (NWG.L), Barclays (BARC.L) and Santander (SAN) have agreed to waive the testing of loan covenants in May. 

The chain had denied in December that it was in debt crisis talks after a hefty £20m bill for COVID-proofing its UK restaurants. 

At the time, a spokeswoman told the BBC that Nando's UK was "a strongly performing business in normal times" and that talk of a crisis was untrue.

Accounts filed at Companies House showed at the time its parent firm raised £100m from shareholders in September to help weather the worst of early lockdowns. 

At the time, Nando's said it was not in any detailed talks with banks. 

Nando's declined to comment on the new arrangement. 

Read more: How COVID changed the UK's hospitality sector

The UK high street has taken a hammering over the past 15 months, with hospitality and retail alike taking a large hit to their bottom lines. 

Data released by the British Retail Consortium this morning showed that two-thirds of retailers are facing legal action on rents in a month, as a moratorium on aggressive debt collection ands on 30 June.

Thousands of retailers will be open to legal action on the rent payments they may have missed due to COVID-19 closures. 

Total rent debt is estimated to be £2.9bn.

The BRC said that already, one in seven shops lie empty, with this number expected to rise.

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