Zolfo Cooper oversees sale of 43 Strada restaurants

02 October 2014 Consultancy.uk

UK casual dining operator Tragus Group has recently sold 43 Strada restaurants to a subsidiary of SCP Sugar Limited, an entity within Sun Capital Partners. The divestment is part of a wider restructering plan, aimed at reducing its debt and refocusing its strategy to the development of its Bella Italia and Café Rouge brands. The deal was overseen by consulting firm Zolfo Cooper and law firms Olswang and Taylor Wessing.

Tragus is a UK restaurant operator with a portfolio of more than 295 restaurants, consisting of the brands Café Rouge, Belgo, Strada, Bella Italia and Brasseries. The company was founded in 2002 and targets the casual dining segment – with offerings ranging from pizza and pasta to French classics.

Strada Restaurants

Earlier this year, Tragus announced a sweeping restructuring plan, following disappointing financial results and mounting debts. To support the financial and operational restructuring, the firm brought in the help of Zolfo Cooper, an advisory and restructuring specialist with 5 offices across the UK. The consultants advised Tragus on future options, and as part of the broader plan Tragus decided to offload its upmarket Italian Strada brand. After a competitive sales process and negotiations with several interested parties, the Strada business was earlier this week sold to Sun Capital Partners, a private equity firm co-founded by industry expert Hugh Osmond. “This process attracted a considerable amount of interest which underlines the strength of the Strada brand,” says Paul Hemming, Partner at Zolfo Cooper.

As well as acquiring the 43 restaurants, Sun Capital Partners will also employ all associated restaurant and head office staff. Shortly after the deal, the new owner announced ambitious plans for Strada, including the expansion of Strada’s footprint further investments in the existing sites.

Tragus Group | Sun Capital Partners | Zolfo Cooper | Olswang | Taylor Wessing

For Tragus, the divestment provides it with the strategic focus and funds to further bolster its remaining portfolio. “The sale of Strada marks a successful end to the Tragus Group restructuring process which created a more focused business, with 200 high quality Café Rouge and Bella Italia sites across the UK,” comments Tragus Group CEO Steve Richards. In the coming 12 months the firm aims at growing its number of locations by 30, with a  medium term objective of up to 500 restaurants. “The sale to Sun has delivered an excellent outcome for all stakeholders as Tragus continues to reposition itself for growth,” adds Hemming.

Taylor Wessing acted as legal advisor for Zolfo Cooper, while Sun Capital hired law firm Olswang.

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