Welcome Break successfully completes £350m refinancing

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Motorway service area operator Welcome Break has successfully completed a £350m refinancing of its debt
Motorway service area operator Welcome Break has successfully completed a £350m refinancing of its debt
Motorway service area operator Welcome Break has announced it has successfully completed a £350m refinancing of its debt facilities allowing the company to continue the development of the brand. 

In a statement released by the firm this morning, the operator revealed the new funds include £221m of 'senior debt' provided by eight lenders as well as £130m of so-called 'privately placed mezzanine debt'.

Further investment

"The refinancing provides a great platform for the business and its leading brands to continue to grow and provide further investment," said Welcome Break chief executive Rod McKie.

McKie explained the company, which now operates 29 sites, including 24 motorway service areas, had plans to expand its coffee shop, retail and restaurant offerings.

"Welcome Break has now become the biggest licensee of Starbucks stores in Europe, numbering some 50 sites with another tranche currently being developed, including further 'drive-thru' options.

"Waitrose has also been a great success following the roll out of 17 stores to date, with a number of new stores planned this year to further the convenience offer.

Sales growth

"As a result of this investment the Welcome Break estate continues to grow its top line sales and bottom line profit, thus complementing its superior site portfolio operating on the main volume motorways in the UK and situated on major hubs and connections," he added.

Welcome Break is planning a further seven Papa John’s Pizza restaurants in its sites following the completion of a 10-site roll-out programme. A further expansion of the Krispy Kreme doughnuts offering is also planned.

The current shareholders of the firm include experienced, long-term investors, NIBC European Infrastructure Fund and ING Bank.

Welcome Break chairman, and managing partner of NIBC Infrastructure Partners, Darren Kyte, said: “This successful refinancing in challenging banking markets is a tribute to the robust underlying performance of the business in the tough trading environment experienced in the last few years, the quality of the management team, and the active involvement of shareholders who remain fully committed to the business for the long term.”

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