Exclusive: City restaurant firm collapses under £330,000 debts burden

THE company behind one of Sheffield's best known restaurants has gone into liquidation after running up debts of £330,000.

Nonnas Restaurant Ltd collapsed last month and has virtually no assets with which to pay a long list of creditors. Chief among them is HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) which was owed 230,000 in unpaid taxes.

None of the creditors is likely to receive anything close to the amount they are owed because the business did not own its Ecclesall Road premises and had very few other assets .

The fashionable Italian restaurant continues to trade, however, after a new company – Nonnas (Sheffield) Ltd – was set up to replace the previous business. The directors of the old company, Gian Bohan and Maurizio Mori, are now employees of the new set-up.

Nonnas also opened a new restaurant in Chesterfield last year and the company website offers a villa in Tuscany for rent. Nonnas (Sheffield) director Daniel Jackson said the Chesterfield venture was set up under a separate company, of which Mr Bohan and Mr Mori are directors, and the villa was not owned by Nonnas Restaurant Ltd.

Liquidator Adrian Graham, from Hamiltons Insolvency Practitioners, said: "It's a shame Nonnas Restaurant has gone into liquidation. As liquidator, I will be trying to realise as much from the assets as possible to benefit the creditors and will be looking at what happened to cause the business to fail."

In common with all liquidations, Mr Graham will produce a directors' report on their conduct leading up to the business failure.

The outstanding assets owned by the company amount to just under 10,000, although the liquidator is negotiating an amount – potentially in the region of 40,000 – for the continued use of the Nonnas brand name by the new business now running the restaurant.

When it went into liquidation, Nonnas Restaurant Ltd owed 114,479 in unpaid PAYE and National Insurance, almost 98,980 in unpaid VAT and 19,850 in unpaid Corporation Tax.

The Yorkshire Post asked HMRC how it had allowed such a significant unpaid tax bill to build-up and ultimately found itself unable to obtain the money for the public purse. A spokesman said HMRC did not comment on individual cases.

In all, Nonnas Restaurant Ltd had 33 creditors when it went into liquidation. After the taxman, NatWest bank was the next largest creditor with 25,000 from an outstanding overdraft.

A long list of suppliers were also affected with eight based in Yorkshire owed smaller sums. The smallest creditor was the charity St John Ambulance, which was owed 103.

Asked about the collapse of the business and the creation of a new company, Nonnas (Sheffield) director Daniel Jackson issued a statement which said: "Professional advice was obtained throughout the whole process and we continue to abide by the rules on new companies.

"The new trading company is Nonnas (Sheffield) Ltd. Previous directors Gian (Bohan) and Maurizio (Mori) are employed by the new company and continue to support the Nonnas brand.

"Nonnas (Sheffield) Ltd continues to purchase from and support all the small businesses that the company Nonnas Restaurants Ltd used before voluntarily liquidating.

"The new company secured the employment of 30 staff and continues with strong links to the local community, supporting the many charities it is involved with over the last 15 years. They include Sheffield Children's Hospital, Streetsmart, Neurocare and its latest initiative with the NHS and the healthy campaign where it has pledged and delivered allotment packs to ten local schools together with in- school cookery initiatives."