Good morning!

Markets have stabilised today, with the FTSE back up 50 points.

Monday is historically the day when we get stock market crashes, so perhaps we are being set up for more weakness at the start of next week!

Patisserie Holdings (LON:CAKE)

  • Share price: 429.5p (suspended)
  • No. of shares: 104 million
  • Market cap: £446 million

Finance Director

Overall, it's a quiet news day on the RNS feed. But not for CAKE.

The Serious Fraud Office has confirmed that it has opened "a criminal investigation into an individual", in response to the RNS by Patisserie Holdings (LON:CAKE) that its currently-suspended Finance Director has been arrested and released on bail.

The Press Association reported yesterday that the company could go into administration as soon as this morning, without an immediate cash injection. So we should get an update very soon. Needless to say, the outlook is bleak. The possibility of a pre-pack administration has been mentioned.

I was curious to learn about the Finance Director's history. This is his bio on the Patisserie Holdings website:


Ok, so he has been involved with the company for 12 years. Is that a bad thing? I wouldn't say so. Although it could be argued that it's unusually long.

But the two other AIM-listed companies he worked for ended badly for his investors.

The seafood restaurant chain Fishworks Plc went into administration, while the loss-making gym chain Healthy Living Centres delisted with its share price close to zero.

There is also a link with Gary Ashworth, who was involved in forcing Interquest off the stock market  and into private hands. Paul Scott nominated Interquest as "the small company which seems to worst treat its outside shareholders" and described management as "incompetent, and not to be trusted".

Some links between all of the characters:

  • Luke Johnson was the Chairman of Healthy Living Centres with Chris Marsh as FD.
  • Gary Ashworth was the Chairman of Interquest.
  • Luke Johnson was an investor and a director of Interquest. 
  • Gary Ashworth was the Chairman of Fishworks while Chris Marsh was FD and Luke Johnson was an investor. 

The ties are clearly very deep between all three men.

What does it all mean? Could investors have avoided Patisserie…

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