Carluccio's "approaches buyers" over possible sale

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Carluccio's "approaches buyers" over possible sale
Carluccio’s is seeking a buyer for its 102-strong Italian restaurant business, the Financial Times has reported.

It comes after the group, which was acquired by Landmark for £90m in 2010, denied a restructure was on the cards when it appointed KPMG to assess its options​ earlier this month.

The FT​ reports that KPMG has approached turnaround specialists and private equity groups, including Wagamama owner Duke Street, over a possible sale.

But a private equity executive told the FT​ taking on the restaurant chain would prove challenging in the current climate.

“You need to become the go-to pasta place and refine its offering,” they said. “But we don’t know where the casual dining sector is heading. We are not going to buy it.”

Accounts show revenues at Carluccio’s rose 2.7% to £140m in the year to September 2016, but pre-tax profits fell from £5.2m to £982,000.

The chain, founded by chef Antonio Carluccio in the 1990’s, has trialled several new formats over the last two years. It launched the Via Carluccio’s grab and go concept​ on London’s Tottenham Court Road in 2016, but is has since closed.

The group also opened its first hotel restaurant,​ in the London Marriott Regent’s Park, the same year.

Chief executive Neil Wickers stepped down in January after three years, and was replaced by Mark Jones, previously of Pizza Hut’s UK business.

Creditors at Carluccio’s high street rival Prezzo will today (23 March) vote on a Company Voluntary Agreement​ which could see 94 restaurants close.

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