Wednesday 21 February 2018

High-steaks gamble whets appetite of investors

Patrick Guilbaud
Patrick Guilbaud
Nick Webb

Nick Webb

TO paraphrase an old saying, the fastest way to become a millionaire is for a multimillionaire to invest in the restaurant business.

An elasticated waistband and real 'minerals' are needed for those putting money into the ultimate recovery play. But maybe momentum is with us now?

Fresh from the bumper deal to sell their €330m Sunseeker Yacht business to China's richest man Wang Jianlin, FL Partners buyout kings Peter Crowley and Neill Hughes have become "small, passive investors" in Laura Peat's restaurant venture.

She's the former accountant turned restaurant whizz behind the "fantastic" Mulberry Garden eaterie in Donnybrook.

The trio are all directors of PNL Restaurants (Peter, Neill, Laura?), which was established "to operate a restaurant and licenced premises". The company has an address on Dublin's Lower Baggot Street.

Hughes and Crowley aren't the only well-known names who have taken to investing in the restaurant business in recent months.

Uber-slick tapas bar Zaragoza opened on Dublin's South William Street last year. It had an investor list to die for, with backers stumping up around €1m for the project.

Former Jacobs Fruitfield boss Michael Carey, now chairman of Bord Bia, is a director. Shareholders of the SW Restaurant parent company included Jerry Kennelly's Kilmackillogue capital.

There's also Ion Equity front man and former Topaz chairman Neil O'Leary, Morgan McKinley's Aldagh McDonogh and ex-McDonald's Ireland chief Marcus Hewson.

But the granddaddies of them all are Glen Dimplex founder Martin Naughton and ESB chairman Lochlann Quinn, who own 16.6 per cent of the fabulous Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud.

Irish Independent

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