The future of the food group behind Philpotts and Patisserie Valerie is hanging by a thread after its owner said it could not continue in its current form without an immediate cash rescue.
In an update to the stock exchange today, Birmingham-based Patisserie Holdings said it had concluded there was a material shortfall between the reported financial status of the business and its current financial status.
It comes after it received a winding up petition for its principal trading unit Stonebeach over a £1.14 million tax bill.
The winding up hearing is scheduled for October 31 and Patisserie Holdings said it was in communication with HMRC as it scrambled to "understand better the financial position of the group".
It is also investigating possible fraudulent accounting irregularities.
It paused trading of its shares on AIM on Wednesday afternoon and finance chief Chris Marsh has been suspended from his role.
Accountancy giant PwC has been drafted in to look through the books of the company which employs thousands of people at outlets across the UK.
Patisserie Holdings, which floated in 2014 and whose head office is in Hall Green, owns well known sandwich shop group Philpotts, cake and café chains Patisserie Valerie and Druckers and bakeries Baker & Spice and Flour Power City Bakery.
In its statement posted today, Patisserie Holdings said: "The company, in conjunction with its professional advisers, has during the last 24 hours undertaken further investigation into (its) financial status.
"The board has now reached the conclusion there is a material shortfall between the reported financial status and the current financial status of the business.
"Without an immediate injection of capital, the directors are of the view that that is no scope for the business to continue trading in its current form.
"As a consequence, the directors and the company's professional advisers are assessing all options available to the business to keep it trading and will update the market in due course."
In May, the firm reported a rise in half-year pre-tax profit from £9.7 million to £11.1 million.
Revenue climbed 9.1 per cent to £60.5 million, it said at the time.