Luke Johnson's Patisserie Valerie faces winding up order

  • Luke Johnson's Patisserie Valerie faces winding up order

Luke Johnson's Patisserie Valerie faces winding up order

The stark statement to investors comes after the firm uncovered "significant, and potentially fraudulent, accounting irregularities".

The High Street cake shop and continental tea room says it could shut down unless it gets an "immediate cash injection".

While the company's directors and professional advisers are said to be "assessing all options available to the business to keep it trading", it was revealed on Wednesday the business now owes £1.14 million to HMRC.

In a stock market update, parent firm Patisserie Holdings said it has received a winding up petition for its principal trading unit Stonebeach.

The company's future was originally thrown into question on Wednesday, when shares were suspended following the discovery of a major black hole in its accounts.

"As a result the company has requested that its shares be suspended from trading on AIM while it conducts a full investigation with its legal and professional advisers into its true financial position".

It said it had also been hit with a winding-up petition by Revenue & Customs over an unpaid £1.14 million tax bill and suspended Chris Marsh, its chief financial officer.

Johnson, Patisserie Holdings' executive chairman and biggest shareholder, said the business was "deeply concerned" about the developments. "We are determined to understand the full details of what has happened".

In May, the firm reported a 14.2% rise in pre-tax profit for the six months ended March 31, up from £9.7m to £11.1m.

Luke 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 a separate statement a few hours later, the company said it had learned that Britain's HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) had on September 14 filed a winding up petition against its main trading subsidiary, Stonebeach Limited, over 1.14 million pounds the tax office says it is owed.