German Eatery Chain Says COVID-19 Will Bankrupt It Soon

By Rick Archer
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Law360 (March 20, 2020, 1:59 PM EDT) -- German restaurant chain Vapiano said Friday the COVID-19 pandemic will drive it into bankruptcy within weeks unless the German and other European governments come to its rescue.

In an announcement posted to its website, Vapiano said the pandemic has forced it to close nearly all of its 230 restaurants worldwide and that if it cannot get new financing it will be forced to file for bankruptcy in three weeks at the latest.

"As of today, it is clear that Vapiano will not be able to survive without immediate government support and will have to file for bankruptcy, which would result in the loss of 10,000 jobs worldwide," CEO Vanessa Hall said in the statement.

Vapiano is a Cologne, Germany-based casual dining restaurant chain that offers Italian food. The company said it currently operates 55 restaurants in Germany and 175 in another 32 countries worldwide, including 75 in other European countries and seven in the U.S.

In Friday's announcement, the company said all of its German locations, employing about 3,800 people, have closed because of coronavirus restrictions, as has nearly every location outside of Germany, cutting its sales to nearly zero.

Vapiano said it has been unable to apply for coronavirus aid loans through the German government-owned KfW business development bank, and that without "unbureaucratic and quick help" from the government the board will be obliged to file for bankruptcy within three weeks at the latest.

The company said it is preparing to file applications with the various coronavirus aid programs being offered by European governments, and that it will need the aid available "in good time and to a sufficient extent."

"Otherwise, Vapiano will immediately file for bankruptcy for Vapiano SE and, if necessary, for major subsidiaries," the company added.

Representatives for Valiano did not immediately respond to requests for additional comment Friday.

--Editing by Alyssa Miller.

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