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Mon 1st Dec 2014 - Cinven makes £400m profit as final Gondola assets are sold
Cinven makes £400m profit as final Gondola assets are sold: The sale of the remainder of Gondola Holdings’ restaurants portfolio has earned private equity owner Cinven a total profit of circa £400 million. Cinven finalised the sale of ASK and the Zizzi restaurant chain for £250 million to fellow private equity firm Bridgepoint today. Zizzi and ASK operate 136 and 109 restaurants, respectively, and performance has been strong over the last three years with 22% compounded Ebitda growth, ‘despite the challenging consumer environment’, said Cinven. The restaurants are the remaining operations of Gondola Holdings, after Cinven sold PizzaExpress and the Byron burger chain separately. Total proceeds from the sale of Gondola are about £1.3 billion, which generates a multiple of 2.4 times for Cinven on the money it invested to buy the group in 2006, the company said. Cinven invested about £290 million, when it bought Gondola, formerly a publicly traded company. Cinven sold Byron to private equity firm Hutton Collins in 2013 for about £100 million. PizzaExpress was sold for about £900 million in July to Beijing-based Hony Capital, which plans to expand the pizza chain throughout China. Peter Catterall, partner at Cinven, said: “We are very proud to have worked with the high calibre management team at Gondola to deliver the growth strategy and accelerate the roll-out of the Group’s different restaurant brands, not only in the UK but also internationally. In particular, our Asia portfolio team has been instrumental in facilitating the acceleration of the PizzaExpress Asia opportunity, which was unquestionably a key factor in agreeing the sale of PizzaExpress to Hony Capital earlier this year.” Charles Miller-Jones, principal at Cinven, added: “We have worked exceptionally hard with the Gondola management team to maintain UK growth momentum through what has been a challenging consumer environment; create Byron, the market leading burger concept; and transform PizzaExpress from a UK business into a truly international growth story. We are pleased that all of the Gondola brands can continue to prosper under new ownership.” Harvey Smyth, chief executive of Gondola Group, added: “Since acquisition of Gondola in 2007, the Group has benefitted from Cinven’s financial commitment and operational support in driving our growth strategy. PizzaExpress expanded significantly in the UK market and made meaningful progress into new and exciting international markets. Byron became a leading brand in a new burger dining category. Finally, ASK and Zizzi enjoyed significant investment in their brands, which, in combination with an excellent management team, has driven its performance in the past three years. Overall, the Gondola story since 2007 has been one of tremendous achievement.”

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