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Thu 19th Oct 2017 - Update; Benito’s new MD, Domino’s UK to extend Germany footprint
Benito’s Hat hires new managing director as founder steps down: Benito’s Hat Restaurant Group has appointed Ping Pong’s Michael Pearson as managing director from the 1 November 2017. After more than nine years at the helm, founder and chief executive of Benito’s Hat Restaurant Group, Ben Fordham, has decided it is time to fulfill his long-term promise to his Texan wife to move with the family to the US and pursue some exciting opportunities. The company stated: “Fordham leaves Benito’s Hat in a strong position, having recently announced the first site outside of London – opening in Oxford on the 24 October 2017 – and returning the highest profit for several years – more than £200k positive swing in Ebitda from the previous 12 months. Ben and Michael will work together throughout November and December, before Michael takes the reins at the beginning of 2018. Ben will remain involved at board level as well as providing support to Michael and his team. Michael will be joining a brilliant, home-grown team that was bolstered earlier this year with the addition of finance director, Georgina Stevens. In his previous role as operations director at Ping Pong, Michael Pearson has delivered the most financially successful period in their history over the last three years and leaves the group in a much stronger position for his tenure. Michael will oversee the rapid expansion of the Benito’s Hat Restaurant Group, with further high street and smaller format venues planned for 2018. Benito’s Hat currently operates restaurants in Covent Garden, Oxford Circus, Goodge Street, Farringdon, King’s Cross, Bromley and, as of 24 October, Oxford Westgate.”

Domino’s extends Germany footprint with acquisition: Domino’s Pizza Group UK (DPG) has announced that Daytona JV Limited, which operates the Domino’s master franchise in Germany, and in which DPG owns a one third stake, is to acquire Hallo Pizza, for a consideration of €32 million on a cash and debt free basis. The company stated: “Hallo Pizza is the largest independent pizza chain in Germany with a comprehensive national footprint of 170 franchise stores throughout Germany. Hallo Pizza generated network sales of €80.2 million and normalised Ebitda of €3.5 million for FY16,. The acquisition will strengthen the German Joint Venture’s market leading position and increase the store count in Germany from 209 to approximately 300-340 following brand conversions, accelerating progress towards its 1,000 store target. Existing Hallo Pizza stores will be operated on a transitional basis until franchisee contracts are converted to Domino’s. The transaction is also expected to improve the profitability of former Hallo Pizza stores and existing Domino’s stores for both franchisor and franchisees as stores are converted to Domino’s and national advertising campaigns, social media initiatives and IT innovations are leveraged over the larger store network. The transaction is scheduled to complete in the first quarter of 2018. Following completion, the German Joint Venture will work with the vendor and Hallo Pizza management to convert franchise contracts to the Domino’s brand over the next two to three years. The purchase price for Hallo Pizza of €32 million will be payable on completion of the transaction. An additional €20-30 million of costs are estimated to be incurred over the next 2-3 years to finance store conversions and other transaction costs. The consideration and related costs are to be funded by the German Joint Venture’s shareholders, Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Limited (DPE) and DPG, in proportion to their current shareholdings. Accordingly, DPG will fund one third of the purchase price on closing of the transaction (€11 million) and one third of the conversion and other transaction costs over the next two to three years. In respect of the German Joint Venture, DPG and DPE have agreed to extend the put and call option agreements over DPG’s interest in the German Joint Venture by one year. DPG’s put option will now be exercisable at any time on or after 1 January 2021, and DPE’s call option will be exercisable at any time on or after 1 January 2023.”

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