A group of investors including the founder of supermarket chain Iceland is set to take the Individual Restaurant Company (IRC) private in a bid to get it growing again after building up a stake of more than 75%.
IRC, which owns the Piccolino, Restaurant Bar & Grill, Zinc Bar & Grill and Bank brands is currently listed on AIM but investors W2D2 now look set to delist it.
The news follows W2D2's announcement in April that it planned to make an offer for the entire issued share capital of the business, having built up a stake of 53.6%.
The group is made up of: Malcolm Walker, founder and chief executive of Iceland; Tarsem Dhaliwal, Iceland's finance director; Steven Walker, the chief executive of IRC; and Paul Dawes, a private investor.
The company has struggled to grow as a listed company as a result of a significant debt pile, and taking the company private is expected to allow its owners to concentrate on growing the business.
In a statement ahead of the company's AGM, which is being held today, IRC chairman Robert Breare said: "As reported in April, the group experienced like-for-like sales growth in each of the first three months of 2011. Encouragingly all of this growth came from increased customer numbers and we have continued to experience like-for-like sales growth in the same way, over the six-week period ended 15 May.
"The positive impact on EBITDA generated from the growth in sales has been significantly eroded by cost inflation and we are mindful that cost inflation (for example in relation to alcohol duty, beef and dairy prices) is set to continue over the remainder of the year. The ability of the group to absorb most, if not all, of these inflationary pressures will depend upon the buoyancy of consumer spending going forward."
By Neil Gerrard
E-mail your comments to Neil Gerrard here.
If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to www.caterersearch.com/tabletalk
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Caterersearch.com jobs