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Conran Holdings management buyout looks imminent

07 September 2006

A management buyout of Conran Holdings is on the verge of being agreed, following the repayment of a £20m loan to founder Sir Terence Conran, Caterer has learnt.

Barring any last-minute hiccups, negotiations for the group, which are believed to be led by chief executive Des Gunewardena, will secure just under half the business.

An industry source said: "The repayment of the founding loan to Sir Terence would make the potential for a management buyout a more straightforward proposition as a debt-free business]."

A spokesman for Conran Holdings said: "We cannot comment on speculation, but we hope to make a further announcement shortly."

The rumours follow the announcement of record profits for the group, which were boosted by £33.2m from the sale of its 50% investment in the Great Eastern hotel earlier this year to Hyatt.

While turnover for Conran Holdings remained steady at £109.3m for the financial year to 31 March (compared with £108.3m for 2004-05), profit before tax soared to £36.7m from £2.6m the previous year.

The group's eateries include Quaglino's, Butlers Wharf Chop House and Bluebird.

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