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Thu 3rd Mar 2022 - Exclusive: Turtle Bay appoints advisors as it seeks new investment partner
Exclusive – Turtle Bay appoints advisors as it seeks new investment partner: Turtle Bay, the Caribbean restaurant brand backed by Piper, has appointed advisors as it seeks a new investment partner to help drive its further growth ambitions, Propel has learned. The 44-strong business, which Piper has backed since 2013, has appointed Rothschild & Co to oversee the process, which should attract both trade and private equity players. Founded in 2010 by Las Iguanas co-founder Ajith Jayawickrema, Piper invested £6m in the then four-strong Turtle Bay three years later, taking a significant minority stake in the process. The senior team was strengthened in 2019 with Jane O’Riordan joining as chair, Adam Gregory as operations director and Steve Robinson as chief financial officer. Former Mitchells & Butlers divisional director Nick Crossley joined Turtle Bay as chief executive last February. The company said sales since reopening in 2021 are “now at 50% like-for-like on 2019-20 numbers, with the Christmas period still achieving a 12% increase against 2019”. It said 2022 had started strongly with a rebound back to pre-Omicron levels. The business opened two new sites in the second half of 2021, which it said are trading well above expectations, with another six planned for the current year and a “strong new site pipeline beyond this”. Crossley told Propel: “I am pleased to announce we’ve appointed Rothschild & Co to help us find a new investment partner and bring our exciting and ambitious growth plans to life. We’re so grateful to our dedicated teams and wonderful guests, who’ve been tremendous during the pandemic, and we look forward to bringing the magic of the Caribbean to even more guests nationwide.” Speaking to Propel earlier this year, Crossley said he saw the potential to more than double the size of the 44-strong business. He said: “One of the company’s strengths is that it has not been afraid to open in what many would see as unconventional locations, including the likes of Middlesbrough and Blackburn. We trade in these areas really well. I think our value proposition does translate throughout the UK. So, in terms of this year, five openings will be a good target. We are in the throes of negotiations and on head of terms on a few locations. We trade really well in a wide range of locations, slightly off pitch as well. We were able to do a bit of an assessment ourselves thanks to the breadth of the estate we already have. We did a bit of an exercise whereby we looked at what were the commonalities of those locations, what level of sales did site X do in that location and site Y in a different one, and we did some correlation work. What it showed us was there are a number of locations in the UK that will be perfect for Turtle Bay, where we are not in. We certainly see this well in excess of doubling the size of Turtle Bay over time, but there is probably a bigger number than that attached to it realistically.”
Turtle Bay features in Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is updated monthly for Premium subscribers and now features 536 companies. Turtle Bay has turned over an average of £59m in the past five years. The Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, provides a five-year overview of turnover and profit, ranks companies according to turnover, pre-tax profit and profit conversion. The Blue Book also provides details of directors’ earnings and highest paid directors. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to sign up


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