SYDNEY: The Administrators of the companies comprising the well-known restaurant group are preparing a leaner and hungrier Criniti’s for sale as a going concern, with the hunt for a new owner likely to commence next week.
Worrells Solvency and Forensic Accountants NSW & ACT partner Mr Graeme Beattie said:
“There is some magic in the Criniti’s name, with the early locations in particular achieving near-iconic status in the minds of many Australians. The level of brand recognition and affinity is extraordinary for a small business of this size and we’re confident that shrewd investors will want to take the name forward.
“For the last week it has been business as usual for the majority of Criniti’s Italian restaurants, which we expect to trade strongly through the Christmas and New Year period”.
Very soon after their appointment by Criniti Group directors on 18 November 2019, the Worrells team made the difficult but necessary decision to immediately close 5 of the 13 restaurants: Manly, Wollongong and Kirrawee in Sydney, Chermside in Brisbane and Cannington in Perth.
“Criniti’s is famed for raising the bar with respect to interior fit-outs. From Monday 25 November we’ve been taking offers for plant and equipment from those locations unable to maintain ordinary operations”, said Mr Beattie.
“The slimmed-down Crinitis is refocussed on its Sydney roots. At the original restaurant in Parramatta and the flagship Darling Harbour location, trade has remained seasonally brisk throughout this difficult week. Woolloomooloo, Wetherill Park and Castle Hill are open and performing to plan, while Kotara in Newcastle and the popular Southbank and Carlton locations in Melbourne are doing well too.
“The ability to rapidly streamline Criniti’s and put it on the path to sustainability speaks to the variability across our fragile retail economy”, said Mr Beattie.
“A streamlined, re-focussed Criniti’s will be well-placed to trade profitably throughout the peak hospitality season, so we may run competing processes to maximise returns to creditors; outright sale of the business as a going concern, and negotiation of a Deed of Company Arrangement”.
In response to questions about the cause of Criniti’s financial distress, Mr Beattie said: “At this early stage, we’ve yet to fully discern all of the factors leading to Criniti’s financial problems. Third-party commentary about these factors or the performance of current management, whether from arms’ length critics or people previously associated with the company, should be regarded as speculation or uninformed opinion”.
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