Disposal of Paramount Restaurants Portfolio Concluded

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Acting on behalf of Paramount Restaurants, Christie + Co has sold the leasehold interests of 28 of the company’s non-core assets, with all but two sites acquired by established corporate operators.

The fact that the majority of the sites were acquired by experienced operators or established casual dining brands highlights that these companies are currently driving both transactional activity and performance across the sector and the country.

Acting on behalf of Paramount Restaurants, Christie + Co has sold the leasehold interests of 28 of the company’s non-core assets, with all but two sites acquired by established corporate operators.

In May this year, Paramount Restaurants instructed Christie + Co to advise on the disposal of a portfolio of 37 sites operating under the Brasserie Gerard, Chez Gerard, Caffè Uno, Bertorelli, il Bertorelli and Livebait brands. Paramount subsequently decided to retain nine of the original 37 sites, including all four operated under the Livebait brand.

The remaining 28 units comprised 12 Brasserie Gerards; eight Caffè Unos; four il Bertorellis; three Bertorellis; and one Chez Gerard. Occupying prime town and city centre locations, these sites were some of the best quality restaurants to come onto the market in over two years.

Using Christie + Co’s sector expertise, contacts and national network, multiple bids were received on the majority of the restaurants from a wide range of interested parties, after a discreet and targeted marketing campaign.

Christie + Co and Paramount worked closely with landlords and buyers during the campaign, which was successfully concluded just five months after its official launch, with significant premiums being achieved on several sites.

The sites were acquired by 12 different parties, with 26 bought by established corporate operators, including Tragus, Gondola Holdings, Prezzo, Giraffe, Costa Coffee and Busaba Eathai, whilst the remaining two sites were sold to individual private buyers.

The average price paid for each restaurant was in excess of £250,000, whilst geographically the spread was six in Central London; 10 inside the M25; and 12 throughout the rest of the UK.

Simon Chaplin, Head of Restaurants at Christie + Co, said: “The disposal of these 28 restaurants underlines what we have been saying for the last two years, that despite the tough trading environment, buyers will quickly appear for well-located and realistically priced assets, especially those that they can quickly turnaround at minimum cost. It also showed that premiums could still be achieved in a challenging market.

“The fact that the majority of the sites were acquired by experienced operators or established casual dining brands highlights that these companies are currently driving both transactional activity and performance across the sector and the country.”

David Street, Paramount’s Property Director, commented: “We are pleased with the success and pace of the disposal programme, which highlights strong teamwork and expertise between us, Christie + Co and Wallace & Co, our solicitors for these transactions, underpinned by a clear focussed plan from initial marketing, agreeing deals through to completion. Our strong relationship with our landlords ensured quick and trouble free consents for our purchasers. We are now able to focus on improving and growing our retained business of 44 sites comprising 29 French restaurants; 11 Italian; and four Livebaits.”

Christie + Co is currently marketing a number of restaurants for sale across the UK and Europe, which would be of interest to a wide range of potential buyers.

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Mark Wingett
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