Jamie Oliver took £5.2m payout from business empire prior to restaurant collapse

Jamie Oliver took a £5.2 million payout from his food and media empire last year prior to the collapse of his UK restaurant business, which resulted in around 1,000 job losses.

Profits dived at Jamie Oliver Group last year after it was hit by £9.8 million in costs related to the celebrity chef’s attempts to prop up his ailing UK restaurant arm.

The figures were revealed in new accounts for his business empire, which excludes the accounts for the collapsed UK restaurant business, which dived into administration in May.

Jamie Oliver’s empire saw pre-tax profits slip 57.4% to £4.8 million in the year to December 2018 while earnings before tax and interest rose 4.9% against the previous year.

Paul Hunt, chief executive of Jamie Oliver Holdings, hailed the “resilient set of results”, as the company “weathered” significant challenges in 2018.

“We are a commercial business with social purpose running through everything we do,” he added.

“We have emerged from the past six months with complete clarity around our vision and values, as well as a renewed focus on what we want to achieve in the coming years.”

Turnover declined 5.9% to £43.5 million as revenues in the company’s media arm fell short of strong revenues in 2017, due to the success of his Five Ingredients book launch.

The company added that revenues in its licensing arm declined, although it secured new contracts with Shell and Tesco at the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the international restaurant business “performed well” in 2018, as it was boosted by the launch of 12 new restaurant sites, bringing its total portfolio to 62.

Jamie Oliver and his wife took £5.2 million in dividends from the overall group, although this represented a decline from £8.6 million in 2017.

The payout came prior to the collapse of his UK restaurant business, which resulted in the closure of 22 restaurants across the UK.

The collapse of Jamie’s Italian left creditors facing losses of up to £83 million, according to the most recent administrators report. The Jamie Italian brand now only operates in the UK via a franchise at Gatwick Airport.

In August, the chef announced he is transforming his remaining business into an ethical “B corporation” that promises to consider the impact of its operations on its workers, suppliers, community and environment.

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