The owner of high-end London restaurants including the Wolseley and the Delaunay has fallen into administration after trade was devastated by the pandemic.
Administrators have been appointed for the venues’ parent company, Corbin & Re, after its largest shareholder, the Thai hospitality group Minor International, accused it of failing to meet its financial obligations.
Corbin & King’s restaurants, which also include Brasserie Zédel in Soho, have long been popular with diners ranging from celebrities to captains of industry. The restaurant operations will not be affected by the administration, and will continue to trade.
The administration comes amid an escalating disagreement over financing and future strategy between Corbin & Re, founded by Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, and Minor International, which holds a 74% stake in the group and has had a controlling position on the company’s board since 2017.
The group’s Londra restaurants have been knocked by repeated closures of hospitality venues during the pandemic, and Minor International said the business was no longer solvent.
Minor International, which is the group’s largest lender, said it had provided Corbin & King with £38m in loans and loan guarantees since May 2020. It accused the company of defaulting on its obligations and said it required strong financial support.
The move to appoint administrators from FRP comes just days after Corbin & King attempted to file a motion in the high court to try to prevent Minor International from calling in its loan, which would have pushed the company into insolvency, as first reported by the Sunday Times.
Dillip Rajakarier, the group chief executive of Minor International, accused King of rejecting its “offers to put the company on a strong financial standing” and said it had “no choice” but to put Corbin & King into administration.
Minor said it had been unable to agree on a commercial strategy with King and said it had called on the board to inject more money into the business.
Rajakarier said: “Contrary to the picture that Mr King is trying to paint, the business is insolvent and is in strong need of further financial support. Minor is prepared to offer this support to secure the long-term future of Corbin & King’s employees and restaurants.”
Minor International insisted it had launched the administration as way of safeguarding the long-term viability of the business, and said it was committed to supporting the group’s staff and preserving the firm’s brands.
King insisted there was “absolutely no need to go into administration”. He said the company was “trading extremely well” and continuing to pay its suppliers and staff.
He accused Minor International of making a “power play” for the group’s holding company, and stated his intention to buy the company out of administration.