By Andy Young
Following last week’s announcement that The Keystone Group has been placed in receivership, the Urban Purveyor Group (UPG) has admitted it is looking at Keystone’s numbers.
UPG is going through a rapid expansion phase and last week TheShout reported that the group has plans to open nine new venues in Sydney and Melbourne over the coming months. With experience in both bars and restaurants, UPG is a likely candidate for a range of Keystone’s 17 venues, which include the Jamie’s Italian chain of restaurants, Chophouse Perth and Sydney plus Bungalow 8, Cargo Bar and The Winery in Sydney.
Speaking about Keystone's venues, UPG’s chief executive officer Thomas Pash, said: “Urban Purveyor Group is in rapid expansion mode and will consider all options as it looks to double the size of the business in the next two years.
“We are reviewing The Keystone Group’s numbers, but have nothing solid to report at this time.”
Keystone was placed in receivership after it failed to broker a deal on the $80 million of debt that the group raised as part of a major expansion program.
In a joint statement about the receivership Keystone’s executive director Richards Facioni and managing director John Duncan said: "Keystone today is an operationally strong business with over 1,000 employees across the country, with a number of iconic venues and brands within its portfolio and a highly dedicated team. However, the debt raised to undertake its expansion, combined with changes to the local market, including lock out laws, have placed significant financial strain on the business. As a result, the senior lenders to Keystone took the decision today to appoint receivers to the group to pursue a sale process.”
Keystone’s venues are continuing to operate, while the receivers look at all options for the sale of the 17 venues across the country. TheShout has contacted several pub groups including Merivale and Solotel, but so far no-one else has agreed to comment on the Keystone Group.