Patisserie Valerie boss describes past week as “nightmare”

Patisserie Valerie boss describes past week as “nightmare”

The Patisserie Valerie (LON: CAKE) boss has spoken out after lending the near-collapsed bakery chain £20 million of his own money. 

Luke Johnson called the past week the “most harrowing week of my life”, adding that it felt like a “nightmare that I’d wake up from”.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Johnson spoke about the £10 million in secret overdrafts that the company had built up.

“There were 2,800 jobs at stake, there was 12 years of effort that I and colleagues had put into the business and the board were determined not to allow the business to go into administration,” he said.

The group’s finance director, Chris Marsh, was arrested last week.

“The company has been made aware that Chris Marsh, who is currently suspended from his role as company finance director, was arrested by the police last night and has been released on bail. Further updates will be released in due course as appropriate,” said the company to the stock market on Friday.

Johnson has predicted that the rescue package will be sufficient in order to save the bakery chain.

“At certain points in the week I was thinking, ‘I can’t carry on with this’, but I don’t feel like that this evening. I think we are coming out the other side,” he said.

Johnson will lend £10 million for three years to owners Patisserie Holdings plc, which the company said would provide “immediate liquidity”.

The boss also provided a further bridging loan facility of up to £10 million.

Half of the loan will be interest-free and should be paid back in three years. The Second half will be repaid when the share placings have been completed.

Johnson is known for taking control of many companies. He bought Pizza Express in 1993 before selling out in 1999.