Administrator KPMG plans to transfer the process to FRP Advisory which will investigate whether it can pursue legal claims against auditor Grant Thornton, which failed to spot irregularities in Patisserie Valerie’s accounts.
KPMG was dropped as administrator earlier this year over a conflict of interest, as Grant Thornton is its own auditor.
A multi-million-pound black hole in Patisserie Holdings' accounts was discovered last autumn, resulting in the company’s fall in to administration. Its Patisserie Valerie chain was later sold to Irish private equity firm Causeway Capital Partners.
KPMG’s administrators report says: “We expect that the liquidators will be assessing and, if appropriate, pursuing potential claims against third parties in respect to the apparent accounting misstatements that were uncovered in October 2018.”
Luke Johnson, former chairman of Patisserie Holdings, paid out £2.45m to cover the wages of staff retained through the administration trading period. Barclays also provided £196,000 funding.
KPMG says there “has been no repayment of these funds to date”.
It estimates preferential claims from creditors total £835,000, but says it is “uncertain whether there will be sufficient asset realisations to make a distribution”.
Johnson, whose other business ventures include the Gail’s bakery chain, has described the downfall of Patisserie Holdings as a “business tragedy”.
Chris Marsh, the company’s former financial director, remains under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.