Dubai firm snaps up British food chain Carluccio's

2nd September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Dubai-based retail giant Landmark Properties has agreed to buy British restaurant chain Carluccio's for 90.3 million pounds (108 million euros, 139 million dollars), the companies said on Thursday.

The management of Carluccio's, which serves Italian food, has recommended that its shareholders accept the cash takeover from Landmark investment vehicle C1 Acquisitions, a statement said.

Landmark Properties, one of the largest retail organisations in the Middle East, has offered 142 pence a share in cash.

Carluccio's share price rocketed 44.79 percent to 139 pence in late afternoon London trade on news of the offer for the group founded in 1991 by Italian celebrity chef Antonio Carluccio.

"The offer ... represents an excellent opportunity for all those involved with Carluccio's," said Carluccio director David Bernstein.

"For our shareholders, it represents an attractive premium, in cash, at a time of continued macro-economic uncertainty."

The firm, which floated on the London stock market in 2005, has 47 restaurants and food stores in Britain. Its founder continues to work with the group on menu development and chef training.

Landmark, which owns more than five percent of Carluccio's, already holds the franchise to run the chain's Middle Eastern operations and has opened three restaurants in Dubai.

Landmark chairman Mukesh Jagtiani said his group was impressed with Carluccio's strong performance during the recent economic downturn.

"We are encouraged by Carluccio's resilient performance during a turbulent economic period and are confident that Carluccio's should benefit from more favourable macro trends in the future," Jagtiani added.

The upmarket business, which employs 1,800 people in Britain, has an average spend of about 13 pounds a customer.

© 2010 AFP

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