Rescue plan for Patisserie Valerie

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Patisserie Valerie has been saved from collapse after entrepreneur Luke Johnson, who owns 37% of the company, offered up to £20m in loans to the struggling chain.

Mr Johnson has offered £10m in a three-year loan which the company said would provide “immediate liquidity”.

He has also offered a further bridging loan facility of up to £10m.

At the same time, the firm is also looking to raise another £15m by issuing new shares.

The cafe chain is fighting for survival after revealing on Wednesday it had uncovered “significant, and potentially fraudulent, accounting irregularities”.

On Friday, the company said its finance director Chris Marsh had been arrested and released on bail.

Mr Johnson, who invested in Patisserie Valerie in 2006, is a serial entrepreneur who is best known for taking control of Pizza Express in 1993 before selling out in 1999.

In 2001 he co-founded Risk Capital Partners, which owns stakes in companies including Majestic Bingo and swimming goods firm Zoggs.

Patisserie Valerie’s directors said in a statement that once the share issue and loans had taken effect, the company would be able to continue trading in its present form “for the foreseeable future”.

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