Chinese go Italian for Milano
ONE of the country's biggest Italian restaurant chains is to be sold to a Chinese firm as part of a €1.1bn deal.
The parent company of Milano's said it had agreed terms to sell it and its international brand Pizza Express to China's Hony Capital for £900m (€1.1bn).
Among the best known restaurants in Ireland, Milano has more than a dozen outlets across the provinces.
The deal is not expected to effect the immediate future of Milano's, which has been bought as a going concern.
The firm is owned by Gondola Group, and is part of the wider Pizza Express chain which has 436 restaurants across the UK and another 68 around the world. The transaction is the largest in the European restaurant sector in the past five years.
Hony Capital chief executive John Zhao commented: "With PizzaExpress, we have the opportunity to leverage our local expertise to accelerate its growth in the Chinese market, as well as to continue to drive its business forward in the UK.'
Pizza Express chief Richard Hodgson said it was "very positive" for the business.