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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Sun 11th May 2014 - Breaking News - Six bidders line up for Orchid Pub Company estate
Six bidders line up for Orchid Pub Company estate: An array of trade and private equity bidders are lined up to take a tilt at buying the Orchid Pub Company estate owned by Deutsche Bank and led by Rufus Hall, according to The Sunday Times. Trade bidders include Mitchells & Butlers, Spirit and Greene King. Among the private equity firms lined up for the business are US property investment firms Starwood Capital and Colony Capital, plus a third unnamed private equity bidder. It is thought that private equity bidders want to acquire the entire business, which may give them an advantage in the process. Offers are expected to value the business at up to £250m. A source told Propel: “The business is performing strongly with 40% Return on Investment on its current capita expenditure programme.” Orchid operates an estate of 225 pubs, with 190 plus freeholds. Last September, Orchid reported Ebitda of £29.3m on turnover of £178.8m in 2012. The company saw average weekly sales rise to £14,100 per pub from £13,900 the year before. In March this year, Hall said: “We have made no secret of the current situation – it is only right that the Board and Deutsche Bank weigh our options after a significant period where they have provided tremendous support to the Orchid management and business, allowing us to lead an exciting period of transformation for the group. The very positive news is that all options remain on the table and that this process is something that we undertake from position of complete strength, with the business performing very well, and those venues that have been the subject of capital investment responding very, very encouragingly.” Last month, Orchid reported it is to add 26 family-friendly All Inns after a 23% rise in like-for-like sales at the existing 16 in the past 12 months. The company’s Return on Investment in the segment is 30% and average weekly sales have risen from £17,000 to £21,900. Orchid’s total capital expenditure has been £4.25m. The company’s Our Family loyalty card has seen total spend increase 13% to circa £13m with a 25% increase in the number of cards used. Orchid has reported particular success with its Pizza Kitchen Bar concept, which has been described as a “genre-buster” for the way it combines a high quality pizza offer and sports bar. Hall has argued it could be expanded to 800 sites. The Pizza Kitchen & Bar (PKB) concept has added theatre and new customers to wet-led venues, according to Hall. “We promote the fact we use 100% fresh dough pizza and this appeals to women and families in particular,” he said. He explained that pizza is “high-margin peasant food, essentially it is just flour and water. It is simple, it goes with sport and it’s a concept that really works”. PKB works in a range of locations with differing demographics, he told a Propel conference last year. PKB sites see an average investment of £160,000 with average sales increasing by 33% year-on-year with a 29% Return on Investment. A further 19 sites are scheduled for conversion to the brand in 2014.

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