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Kona Grill files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

Chain closes more units before bankruptcy action

Struggling Kona Grill Inc. filed Tuesday for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after closing several more locations over the past week.

The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based casual-dining chain filed in United States Bankruptcy Court for the Delaware District, citing assets of $53.6 million and debts of $74 million.

The company has shuttered a number of units this year, including several reported in April, including locations in Arlington, Va.; Austin, Texas; and Baton Rouge, La.

The bankruptcy filing lists four firms or individuals with ownership of more than 5% of voting stock, including former CEO Berke Bakay, Nanyan “Alex” Zheng, Renaissance Technologies LLC and James R. Jundt.

In mid-April, Kona Grill warned in federal filings that it might have to file for bankruptcy if talks with lenders and consideration of other strategic alternatives were unsuccessful.

The company also named its sixth CEO in nine months, saying Jonathan Tibus, managing director with Alvarez & Marsal North America LLC, had been named to the post.

The company had seen a string of shakeups in its executive ranks, with Tibus succeeding Christi Hing, the brand’s chief financial officer, who had served as interim CEO to succeed Marcus Jundt, who resigned in March.

Since August, CEOs included Berke Bakay, Jim Kuhn, Marcus Jundt and Steve Schussler.

The company in mid-April also appointed Christopher Wells as chief restructuring officer. He recently served as chief financial officer of Real Mex Restaurants Inc., the Cypress, Calif.-based company that filed for bankruptcy in August 2018. Wells signed Tuesday’s bankruptcy filings.

For fiscal 2018 ended Dec. 31, Kona said its loss widened to $32 million, or $2.62 a share, from a loss of $23.4 million, or $2.32 a share, in fiscal 2017. Revenues for the year declined 12.4%, to $156.9 million in 2018 from $179.1 million in 2017.

The company is represented by Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP as bankruptcy attorney and Piper Jaffray as adviser.

Major creditors include mall landlords, real estate trusts and suppliers.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

TAGS: Finance News
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