Contract caterer Amadeus has been acquired by Blackstone as part of a deal that has seen the private equity firm take over the National Exhibition Centre group (NEC).
The events operator, previously owned by LDC – the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, hosts more than seven million guests and 750 events a year across its five NEC Group venues which include the National Exhibition Centre, International Convention Centre and Genting Arena. It also caters at 30 non-NEC venues including Cadbury World and Dudley Zoo.
LDC had backed a management buyout of the group in January 2015 and went on to support a four-year transformation programme to improve its sites, facilities and the customer experience.
Last year was the most successful in the contract caterer’s history seeing a 20% increase in revenue and 44% growth in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization – setting it on course to become a £50m business by 2019.
Paul Thandi, chief executive of the NEC Group, said: “Blackstone’s track record in scaling companies, sector knowledge and unrivalled real estate capabilities, make them the ideal new partner for NEC Group to realise the next phase of our ambitious growth strategy.”
Lionel Assant, European head of private equity at Blackstone, added: “Under the leadership of Paul Thandi, a best in class management team and the support of LDC, the NEC has transformed its main site into a leading leisure, entertainment and business destination, which continues to benefit from a diverse customer base. We have tremendous respect for what has been achieved; NEC Group is iconic and we are excited about our new partnership as we look to leverage our firm’s capabilities in support of the team.”
Amadeus was named Retail and Leisure Caterer of the Year at the Foodservice Cateys 2018, announced at a celebratory dinner at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, London.