Speaking in a video posted on YouTube, the restaurateur responded to the news that joint administrators had been appointed for Corbin & King & Limited, the holding company for the London-based restaurant group.
In the video he sets out to reassure customers that the group’s restaurants, which include The Wolseley, Brasserie Zédel and The Delaunay, are continuing to operate as usual.
“You may have seen reports of Corbin & King going into administration – that may have left you worried about reservations you have made, private events you are planning and about using the vouchers you so generously purchased, please don’t be concerned,” he says.
King describes the administration as a “technical one” which he says has been invoked by Minor in an attempt to size control of the company and that it applies only to the holding company. “In the Corbin & King estate we have 14 other companies that actually run the restaurants,” he says.
King goes on to say that all the group’s restaurants are fully solvent, trading well and that all staff and suppliers are secure and fully paid. “It is very much business as usual.”
In the video he also refutes claims made by Minor that Corbin & King couldn’t it meet financial obligations, saying that the only obligations it failed to meet were in respect to a £30m loan from Minor as part of the transaction when it bought into the company. He also refutes claims by Minor that the company faced major liquidity constraints throughout the pandemic saying that it didn’t require any financial support other than the Government’s furlough scheme.
“The restaurants are as busy and as profitable as ever despite all the difficulties of the last two years. We are in rude financial health,” he says.
King, who founded the company with business partner Chris Corbin, has reiterated his intention to buy the holding company out of administration and pay back all the monies due.
Sky News has reported that US investment fund Knighthead Capital Management has notified administrators to Corbin & King that it is prepared to refinance all outstanding loans owed to Minor.
King described him and Minor as having “a fundamental difference in opinion” on how restaurants should be run and what is the best interest of its customers, staff and landlords and suppliers.
“I will never change my principles to the detriment of those essential elements for a successful restaurant,” he says. “So today we are under siege from our investor."