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Sun 17th Apr 2022 - D&D London back on the market after failed sale talks, Hall & Woodhouse returns to profit
D&D London back on the market after failed sale talks, Berisha to take MD role: Restaurant operator D&D London has been placed back on the market after talks with UK-based investment firm Montecito Equity Partners, over a deal that would have reportedly valued the business at £100m, failed. Sky News reports Interpath Advisory had again been instructed to kick off talks with potential buyers for the LDC-backed business after exclusive talks with Montecito Equity Partners, a little-known investment firm, failed to result in a deal. A D&D spokesman declined to comment on the prospective sale process, but said current trading across its sites is “very strong”. Last October, Sky News reported D&D, which owns prominent London restaurants such as the Bluebird in Chelsea, Coq d'Argent in the heart of the City and Skylon on the South Bank, was thought to be several weeks from concluding a deal with Montecito Equity Partners. D&D owns and operates some 40 restaurants in major cities in the UK (London, Manchester, Leeds) and overseas (New York, Paris). D&D, which was founded by Sir Terence Conran, launched its latest restaurant last autumn, when it opened the alpine-inspired Haugen in Stratford, east London. A new venture in Birmingham is scheduled to open this year. D&D is named after the current chairman Des Gunewardena and deputy chairman David Loewi, who took on the business when they bought a stake in Conran Restaurants in 2006. In 2013, LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, took control of the then 32-strong business, in a deal thought to be valued at about £50m. At the same time, The Times reports Baton Berisha, former chief executive of Richard Caring’s restaurant businesses, is to join D&D as its new managing director. Serial sector investor Caring took day-to-day control of his restaurant empire, which includes Bill’s and the Ivy Collection, in November last year after the departure of Berisha, who was named chief executive of The Ivy, Bill’s and Caprice Holdings and The Birley Clubs, in October 2020. Previous to that Berisha had been managing director of The Ivy Collection since July 2018, and added overseeing Bill’s and Caprice Holdings to his remit in January 2020 and July 2020, respectively. D&D London features in Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is updated monthly for Premium subscribers. The latest edition, which will be sent on Friday (22 April), at midday, will feature 559 companies. D&D London has turned over an average of £129.3m 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 to sign up

Hall & Woodhouse returns to profit and positive Ebitda: Dorset-based brewer and retailer Hall & Woodhouse has reported the business has returned to profitability. Chairman Anthony Woodhouse said he was optimistic about the company’s continued recovery in the year ahead as he congratulated managing director Matt Kearsey and the team for their achievements despite the ongoing challenges. Hall & Woodhouse reported underlying profit before tax of £1.6m for the year ending 29 January 2022 (2021: loss of £10.5m). Turnover increased to £83.4m (2021: £71.5m) while Ebitda was £10.2m (2021: loss of £1.7m). Woodhouse said: “In the short term, the cost to the company has been great. However, as has happened many times in Hall &Woodhouse’s history, the crisis has given rise to significant opportunities to acquire both managed houses and business partnerships at very attractive prices. Hall & Woodhouse has been able to grasp these opportunities due to its strong balance sheet, tight management of cash flow and the limited borrowings that were in place at the start of the pandemic. We also bolstered our resources by disposing of a number of smaller predominantly wet-led pubs that did not fit with our long-term strategy. The disposals generated substantial property profits that resulted in a total profit before tax of £11.1m (2021: loss of £15.1m). Despite the acquisitions and high level of investment in our team and in our houses, net debt ended the year significantly down on the prior year at £45.3m (2021: £60.9m). As I write this, the human tragedy continues in Ukraine and our thoughts are with everyone directly and indirectly affected. I am afraid we will not be immune to the impact on the economy, but notwithstanding this, I am optimistic about Hall & Woodhouse’s continued recovery in the year ahead.”

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