Shares suspended at Luke Johnson's Patisserie Valerie after black hole unearthed

Paul May chief executive of Patisserie Holdings and Luke Johnson executive chairman

Primarily based in the United Kingdom, in Ireland the café and cake shop has two stores in Dublin - in Debenhams on Henry Street, and in Debenhams in Blanchardstown.

Patisserie Valerie, which specialises in fresh cakes and continental breakfasts, has over 200 cafes around the UK.

Patisserie Holdings says it will make further announcements as the results of its investigation become known.

The company said on Thursday: "There is a material shortfall between the reported financial status and the".

'Without an immediate injection of capital, the directors are of the view that that is no scope for the business to continue trading in its current form'.

Faced the immmediate need for new cash, "the directors and the company's professional advisers are assessing all options available to the business to keep it trading and will update the market in due course".

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The stark warning came a day after the company said it had discovered a black hole in its finances amid "significant, potentially fraudulent, accounting irregularities".

Also on Wednesday the firm announced that its board had become aware of an HMRC winding-up petition against its principal subsidiary Stonebeach, with the tax body seeking a payment of £1.14m.

Patisserie Holdings said it is in communication with HM Revenue & Customs with the objective of addressing the petition and continues to engage with advisers to understand better the financial position of the group.

Mr Johnson is Patisserie Holdings' largest shareholder with a 37 per cent stake.

In the six months ended March 31 of this year, Patisserie reported pretax profit of GBP11.1 million, up 14% from GBP9.7 million year-on-year.

In a separate statement a few hours later, the company said it had learned that Britain's HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) had on September 14 filed a winding up petition against its main trading subsidiary, Stonebeach Limited, over 1.14 million pounds the tax office says it is owed.

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