Caffe Nero sends takeover bids flying with new £330m loan

The Caffe Nero Group has completed refinancing with a new six-year loan of £330m, with additional facilities of £85m available for growth opportunities.

The move puts pay to billionaire Issa brothers' hopes of taking over the company. Last April Mohsin and Zuber Issa, who own EG Group, acquired £160m of Nero Holdings’ mezzanine debt. As a result of this new debt agreement, the EG Group is no longer a holder of any of The Caffè Nero Group’s debt.

Majority ownership remains with Gerry Ford, founder and Group CEO, alongside family and friends. As a result of this new debt agreement, the EG Group is no longer a holder of any of The Caffè Nero Group’s debt.

Pre-Covid, the group had delivered notable success, registering 86 consecutive quarters of positive like-for-like sales growth. In the second half of 2021, with restrictions lifted, Caffè Nero started to return to its normal strong operating performance.

Sales in the first-half of its Financial Year (June-November 2021) were up 61% with EBITDA for the same period recorded at £29.4m. Like-for-like sales at the end of November 2021 were tracking at 90% of FY19 levels.

Ford said, 'We were a strong business before Covid-19, and now having weathered the pandemic, survived a hostile takeover attempt, won the court case against the EG Group and paid back our emergency banking loans over the last 21 months.

'We have shown incredible resilience and I believe we will come out of these challenging times even stronger than we were before.'

Ford went on, “I want to thank our dedicated, fantastic store teams who worked so hard under such difficult conditions over these past 21 months.

'Likewise, our senior operators, central support team and department leads as well as our executive management team have been nothing short of heroic and I could not be prouder of them. We truly have fabulous people and that is what has enable us to get through.”

“I also want to thank our previous banking partners, especially HSBC, Santander, Rabobank and Lloyds who stuck by us in these difficult times.”

Ford concluded, “I now look forward to taking the Caffè Nero brand to new heights as we forge ahead with our new partners.”

The company currently operates four brands (Caffe Nero, Coffee #1, Harris + Hole and Aroma) across 1,020 stores in 10 countries. It employs more than 5,600 people in the UK and has more than 7,700 working for its four brands across 10 territories.