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Coppa Club owner seeks AIM admission to take advantage of ‘unprecedented growth opportunity'

10 September 2020 by

Various Eateries is seeking admission to AIM to roll out its Coppa Club and Tavolino restaurant brands "at pace" and fund further acquisitions.

The business has announced its intention to seek admission to trading on AIM, a market of the London Stock Exchange, with admission expected to take place end of September or early October. The company also intends to raise up to £25m by way of a share placing on admission.

Overseen by founder Hugh Osmond, who oversaw the transformation of PizzaExpress in the 1990s, and former Strada chief executive Andy Bassadone, Various Eateries said current acquisition opportunities, reduced competition, availability of talent and changes in consumer behaviour present an "unprecedented growth opportunity".

The business has 10 sites in operation, with five sites in London and five sites outside, which it said provides "a platform to scale organically at pace".

A statement from the group said that, as the economic fallout continues, the element of the rent linked to turnover will increase and base rents will reduce accordingly. As a result, they also believe that there will be a power shift in favour of tenants and operators in the longer term, with potential one-way tenant breaks, upward and downward rent reviews and turnover-linked leases.

Meanwhile, high-quality concepts struggling to stay afloat have been identified as potential acquisition targets and the business said that the reduced competition post-lockdown, particularly in Italian mid-market chains, provides a major opportunity for the growth of Tavolino.

Osmond said: "I believe that Covid-19 is the biggest event to hit the UK economy outside of war-time. Whilst I deplore the terrible effect it has had on our industry, we are confident that there will be major opportunities for a well funded group with strong management to build a fantastic business in the aftermath of Covid. We are also confident that we have one of the most experienced teams ever assembled in the hospitality sector, 2020s-appropriate brands, and an established platform business and I am firmly of the view that the opportunity is as big as it was in the early 1990s when I jointly led the acquisition of PizzaExpress.

"The funds raised will be principally used to take advantage of the opportunities and accelerate growth. Our senior team has an established track record of acquiring, converting and opening sites and, with, what we perceive to be, the availability of premium sites at attractive rents, I believe the prospects for Coppa Club and Tavolino are exciting.

"There are also a number of well-known brands out there that are struggling to navigate the pandemic and various other industry pressures. Should the right opportunities present themselves, we would consider supplementing our organic growth through acquisition, offering distressed brands a more sustainable future as part of the group.

"The brands we operate have been designed to cater to changing consumer preferences. Coppa Club provides all-day flexible spaces ideal for remote working as well as extensive outdoor spaces, and separate bar, lounge and restaurant areas. Tavolino is a modern all-day Italian bistro with potential for every high street. With a team that between them have created some of the UK's most well-known sit-down restaurant groups over a period of 27 years, we believe we are ideally placed to make the most of the post-lockdown landscape."

The group also operates two Strada sites which, subject to matters including market conditions, it aims to turn into Tavolinos.

Photo: Shutterstock

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