Eagle Boys franchise numbers have halved in Australia in recent years. Photo: Max Mason HubersEagle Boys, the nation’s third largest pizza chain, has collapsed into voluntary administration.
The pizza chain’s head office called in administrators SV Partners on Thursday, but insists its 120 or so franchisees will continue to trade while a potential sale is negotiated.
Documents filed with the corporate regulator show the company either could notpay its debts orthought it may soon be unable to do so.
“For Eagle Boys customers, franchisees, employees and suppliers it’s ‘business as usual’ while the Administrators’ review is underway,” Eagle Boys, founded in Albury NSW in 1987, said in a statement.
Private equity firm NBC Capital acquired an 85 per cent stake in Eagle Boys in 2007, and since then has been the subject of a string of controversies and shrinking market share.
There are Hunter stories at East Maitland, Mayfield and Lake Haven.
Eagle Boys’ current footprint hasmore than halved from its peak of 340 Australian stores.
Store ownersclaim to have been driven to the wall by price wars with dominant chains Domino’s and Pizza Hut and hit by head office cutting back on advertising.
Fairfax Media revealed last year that at least 30 Eagle Boys franchisees, many who had become insolvent or bankrupt, were mulling legal action against head office, with a class action on the cards.
The chain was at the time trying to raise up to $20 million in capital to pay down a “significant” amount of debt before an IPO in the next three to five years.
Eagle Boys has 4.6 per cent of the Australian pizza market, trailing behind Domino’swhich has 25 per centand Pizza Hutwhich has 10 per cent, according to IBIS World.
Retail Food Group, which owns Pizza Capers and Crust and has been floated as a potential Eagle Boysbuyer,has4 per cent of the market.
The 15 per cent of the company not owned by Eagle Boys is understood to be held by six former staff members.
SV Partners has been contacted for comment.
More to come.
BusinessDay,Sydney Morning Herald
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