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Private equity deal behind the Alchemist expansion turns revenues to gold

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Private equity deal behind the Alchemist expansion turns revenues to gold

Restaurant and bar chain the Alchemist is on track to achieve a pronounced boost to its turnover by the end of 2020 as a private equity deal from 2015 yields results.

The group was initially founded in Manchester, with additional sites in Leeds and London. Following a deal with Palatine Private Equity in May 2015, the brand has moved into 15 sites across the UK – including Cardiff, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham and Oxford, as well as an expansion of its foothold in London.

Now the Alchemist is reporting it is on track to achieve revenues of £50m for the year to March 2020, up from £11.3m at the point of investment. Headcount has also boosted significantly on the back of the group’s expansion, growing from 200 to more than 900 employees.

Expansion is still expected to increase, with four agreed sites – Brindleyplace in Birmingham, Gunwharf Quay in Portsmouth, and Embassy Gardens and Canary Wharf in London – in the pipeline. The firm agreed further investment from Santander last year, valued at £16m.

Simon Potts, managing director at the Alchemist, said: “Although we had a brilliant concept when Palatine first backed us, we only operated three sites. Working with private equity has really enabled us to achieve scale and build an infrastructure that supports a business of our size. Our growth has been very much down to identifying high-performing sites across the big regional cities and establishing a presence in the capital, which has put the brand in front of an international audience. A global expansion has always been an ambition for the management team, and we will be targeting overseas opportunities in the next few years.

“Working with Palatine has been an incredible journey so far. They’re different to other investors in the way that they approach ESG initiatives and have helped us to create a sense of purpose within our business that both customers and staff are bought into.”

Gary Tipper, managing partner at Palatine Private Equity and non-executive director at the Alchemist, added: “Having a solid concept is one of the fundamentals in the hospitality sector. It’s not a case of just opening your doors – you need to have a proposition that the customer wants to engage with and that’s what makes the Alchemist stand out. The business has demonstrated its ability to buck the trend in an incredibly competitive marketplace and it is showing no signs of slowing down.”

The Alchemist to open new bar concept Aether at Liverpool One>>

The Alchemist secures £16m to fund expansion>>

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