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Mon 10th Oct 2016 - Update: Ed’s Easy Diner sale, Benugo owner and Pacha
The Daily Telegraph – R Capital set to make Ed’s Easy Diner investment: The Daily Telegraph has forecast that the former owner of Little Chef is to make a cash injection into Ed’s Easy Diner. R Capital is expected to complete the deal today, injecting several million pounds into the chain of 1950s-style US diners, as well as replacing RBS as its main creditor in a debt-for-equity swap. The Daily Telegraph reported: “Privately owned Ed’s has been struggling following a slump in trading and over-expansion. After hiring restructuring experts Alix Partners, the chain looked at offloading some of its sites but chose instead to negotiate cheaper rents with landlords. Next the company hired KPMG to find new investors. The deal with R Capital is expected to value Ed’s at less than its debts, which stand at just over £20m. Rutland Partners, owner of Pizza Hut UK, was also in the running. R Capital specialises in trying to turn around flailing companies. It is best known for its ownership of Little Chef, which it bought in 2007. R Capital sold the business to the Kuwaiti conglomerate Kout Food Group in 2013.”

Benugo owner reports return to profit: WSH International, which operates Benugo and Searcys, has reported a 10% rise in sales as it benefited from new partnerships. The company said its turnover of £650m for the year to 1 January was boosted by its takeover of Searcys in mid-2014 and by an extra trading week. The group’s catering operations include Benugo, the Orangery restaurant at Blenheim Palace and the bar at the top of the Gherkin tower in the City of London. The firm is majority-owned by Alastair Storey, who started the contract caterer BaxterStorey before acquiring other brands. The company delivered a pre-tax profit of £8.2m, reversing losses of £6.5m during 2014 when the firm spent £15m on refinancing. Cash flow increased by 23%, which the company said it would invest in further growth. “We firmly believe we were able to deliver these results by staying true to our founding principles of providing fresh locally sourced food, creatively prepared by well trained staff,” the firm said in its accounts, recently filed at Companies House. WSH said growth would have been even higher, but for the dent to its European business from the weaker euro during the year. The results do not include Hix Restaurants, the chain of central London destinations that signed a joint venture with the firm in April. WSH noted that the new National Living Wage introduced this April would cost £3m a year, adding an extra 1pc to its payroll, but said it would absorb the cost into its ongoing efforts to prune expenses. Former owner-managers, who no longer work in the business, shared a dividend of £3.8m from the group’s UK and Ireland subsidiary.

Pacha Group plans hotel expansion: Pacha Group, which owns the iconic Ibiza venue of the same name, is planning to open 25 hotels and spas around the world with London and its “new young generation” a specific target, The Times has reported. It plans to open six hotels by 2020 and the rest by 2025. The company’s turnover was 78 million euros last year and it made a profit of 11 million euros. It is targeting an increase of turnover of between 8 and ten per cent this year. In August, it was reported Pacha was up for sale. Reports claimed Pacha and associated venues including Destino and Lio, as well as its international franchises had a price tag of circa €500m. 

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