Page last updated at 17:24 GMT, Thursday, 2 July 2009 18:24 UK

Ramsay's profits 'plummet by 87%'

Chef Gordon Ramsay
Ramsay said his company had now regained "a position of strength"

Profits at Gordon Ramsay's UK restaurants fell by 87% in the last year, forcing the chef to inject £3.5m of his own money into the business.

His father-in-law and partner Chris Hutcheson also pumped in £1.5m to help cope with mounting debts and tax bills.

Their woes in the year to August 2008 were blamed on ambitious expansion plans and the closure of key London restaurants like The Savoy Grill.

Ramsay said the company had "learnt some valuable lessons".

The latest accounts showed that in 2007-08 pre-tax profits plummeted £3.05m to £383,325.

At the same time, net debt soared from £4.06m to £9.48m.

'Underperforming'

The closure of two of Ramsay's London restaurants alone accounted for a £9.5m drop in revenue.

The Savoy Grill was shut because of refurbishment of its host hotel, while the Connaught's lease expired.

RAMSAY'S LONDON EMPIRE
Royal Hospital Road
Boxwood
Claridges
Maze
The Narrow
Murano (opened in 2008)
York and Albany (opened in 2008)
Petrus (closed for relocation)
Connaught (now closed)
The Savoy Grill (being refurbished)
La Noisette (now closed)

A third venue, La Noisette, ceased trading in January this year, and was said to have been a "consistently underperforming site".

A full review of Ramsay's company began in December last year as part of a refinancing deal to help it survive the recession.

The cash injection from Ramsay and Mr Hutcheson was needed after the firm accrued a bill of about £8m in VAT, corporation tax and wages.

Ramsay has told how he had to sell his Ferrari to help raise funds, blaming the company's problems on his own over-ambition.

Some 25 staff also lost their jobs as part of the restructuring efforts.

In a statement on Thursday, Ramsay said: "The financial year ending 2008 was tough on our group and all involved, as well as the rest of the economy that faced a spiralling downturn.

"We have regrouped and learnt some valuable lessons and the business has now returned to a position of strength.

"We are back on solid ground and I am very confident that we have a bright and profitable future ahead of us."

Michelin stars

Despite several closures, Ramsay has also opened two new restaurants in London in recent months - Murano last September and York and Albany in October.

The Savoy Grill is set to re-open in early 2010, while another venue, Petrus, is being relocated.

The Savoy Hotel
Ramsay's Savoy Grill closed when the hotel began refurbishment

The Ramsay empire's flagship, the three-Michelin star Royal Hospital Road in Chelsea, was among the top performers.

Also doing well were Boxwood in Knightsbridge and Claridges in Mayfair.

Ramsay owns another London restaurant, Foxtrot Oscar, and gastropubs The Warrington, The Narrow and The Devonshire, but these have not reported results.

The chef also has restaurants across the globe, including in Cape Town, Tuscany and Tokyo.

A spokeswoman for the group said the international company would report its results later this month.



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