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Paramount buys Caffé Uno chain from TRG

01 December 2005

Restaurant group Paramount last week added the Caffé Uno brand to its stable after buying the chain from The Restaurant Group (TRG) in a £33m deal.

The owner of the Livebait, Chez Gérard and Bertorelli brands bought 53 of TRG's 58 Caffé Uno-branded sites and now plans to refurbish and partially rebrand the chain.

Paramount chief executive Nick Basing said the deal was "part property play, part recovery play and partially to increase synergies of scale".

He added: "We have experience at turning around chains that have not had sufficient support, and we understand how to operate in tough high-street conditions."

Basing said Paramount planned to use its new portfolio to roll out the group's latest brand, Brasserie Chez Gérard. It has already identified 10 Caffé Uno sites for conversion.

TRG managing director Andrew Page said the group wanted to pull out of the high street, where many Caffé Uno outlets are located.

"The high street has become more competitive, and consumer trading patterns have changed," he said. "Some families have shunned the high street on the basis that they are not the most pleasant places to be at night."

The remaining five Caffé Uno sites, located in airports, will continue to be operated by TRG under licence from Paramount.

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