Mezzé ‘secure’ after £900k debt is wiped

Alex Tryfonos outside the White Lion in Portishead

Alex Tryfonos outside the White Lion in Portishead - Credit: Archant

THE new owner of a chain of pubs and restaurants in North Somerset has said it is very much still open for business despite its former parent company going into liquidation with £900,000 worth of debt.

The Mezzé brand is well-known in the district, with a flagship site at Portishead’s White Lion pub opened last year, as well as another at the Ship and Castle in Congresbury. The brand has swiftly expanded in recent years, with six establishments opening across North Somerset and Bristol since 2009.

However, in September, Mezzé’s parent company, Jackals Limited, was placed into voluntary liquidation.

At the time it owed more than £907,000 to creditors, including £426,000 to HMRC and £55,000 to North Somerset Council, as well as thousands to suppliers of the business.

The main cause of the liquidation, which has now seen much of this debt wiped out, was attributed to two potential investors pulling out which meant the company became insolvent.

As a result, the Mezzé name has now been bought by Alex Tryfonos, who was a director of Jackals between 2007-2008. He has paid about £35,000 and become sole director of a new parent firm called Albondi.

He said: “Once I realised the liquidation was happening I wanted to make sure the staff and the brand were protected. We have managed to secure investment from a local business.

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“We have managed to keep the business strong, keep all the staff employed and we have no intention of closing any of our sites.

“Although some creditors have fallen into the liquidation, we have managed to make agreements with them by offering them ongoing business.”

A former director of Jackals, James Brown said: “The Jackals mission statement has been to secure investment in closed down, derelict and dilapidated community pubs. Although we are extremely disappointed we have had to sell on Mezzé to pay off creditors, we are proud that in our six years as a company we have secured investments of over £2.5million in local building refurbishments, over £3million in staff wages into the local economy, over £2million pounds to HMRC in taxes and over £1million to local councils in rates and council tax, all of which were none existent before our arrival.”

Earlier this year it was revealed the Mezzé group also had plans to take over the Campbell’s Landing pub at Clevedon’s seafront, with proposals to renovate it and open it as a Mezzé restaurant.

Mr Tryfonos added: “It is my intention to persevere with it.

“It is my ambition that this will still be a Mezzé. Campbell’s Landing is the one that I want to do next.

“We just have to make sure the correct funding is in place.”