The chain’s woes began in 2005, when its then owner, the SFI Group, plunged into administration due to difficulties with its finances.
Its collapse triggered property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz to buy up the group’s best outlets and bring them into his Laurel Pub Company.
Three years later, it was the turn of heavily indebted Laurel to crash into administration, caught out by a downturn in the economy and difficult financing conditions. As part of the adminstration process Laurel split into two, with the Slug & Lettuce pubs placed into a new company, the Bay Restaurant Group, as part of its portfolio of 190 outlets.
Yesterday, Bay Restaurant agreed its second financial rescue in as many years, with banks agreeing a new 150 million pound loan in exchange for taking a stake in the company. The banks providing the rescue financing were Iceland’s Kaupthing and Germany’s Commerz – hardly strangers to rescues themselves.