Investors sue restaurant chain Mon Hue’s founders

Saturday, Oct 26, 2019 08:20

The Mon Hue restaurant chain has closed its eateries due to heavy debts. — Photo thoidai.com.vn

A group of investors from Huy Vietnam Group Limited have initiated legal proceedings against the founders of the Mon Hue restaurant chain after the firm closed its eateries due to heavy debts.

The group includes ADV Partners, AIF Capital, F&H Fenghe, Fortress Investments, Gryphus Capital and Welkin Capital, all representatives of several international private equity funds that have invested more than US$70 million since 2013 into Huy Vietnam, the parent company of Nha Hang Mon Hue Ltd.

Nha Hang Mon Hue Ltd is the operator of the Mon Hue restaurant chain, with up to 80 restaurants across the country.

In a recent statement, the investors said they had commenced legal action in the People’s Court of HCM City on behalf of the business against its founder and chairman, Huy Nhat. His associates, including Ngo Thi My Hanh, managing director of Mon Hue Restaurant Co Ltd, are also being charged for alleged breaches of fiduciary duty, irregular transactions and fraud, in which Huy is said to have siphoned off large amounts of cash and assets.

The move came after a handful of Mon Hue restaurants in HCM City suddenly closed.

The investors claimed that the shutdown of Mon Hue restaurants happened without their approval or for reasonable commercial purpose, resulting in more than 1,500 Vietnamese employees losing their jobs.

Additionally, the investors have been able to successfully lobby overseas authorities to freeze foreign accounts linked to the company’s founders, Huy Nhat and Ngo thi My Hanh.

Huy Nhat and Ngo Thi My Hanh are reportedly unreachable.

The group also said that Huy Nhat provided them a fake 2018 financial report which said the restaurant business was expanding and making a profit.

However, in reality, Nha Hang Mon Hue Vietnam Ltd. suffered a loss of nearly VND107 billion (US$4.6 million) that year.

According to suppliers, it owes tens of billions of Vietnamese dong to more than 100 providers.

Huy Vietnam Group Limited operates the Mon Hue, Pho Ong Hung, Com Tho Chay, Great Banh Mi, Pho 99 and TPTea brands. At its peak, the company employed more than 2,500 staff nationwide, and was serving 47,000 customers per day with safe and affordable meals.

“While the investor group is disappointed at the need to take these steps, it hopes for a swift and fair resolution in the Vietnamese courts, in line with the freezing injunctions already obtained overseas,” the group said in its statement.

“These steps, taken to protect the business generally as well as the investor group’s investment in Huy Vietnam, are in the best interests of the business' staff, suppliers and business partners, as the investor group attempts to restore continuity to the business,” they said. — VNS

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