3i realises investment via £39m refinancing of EAT

23 Aug 2005

3i, Europe's leading private equity and venture capital company, today announces that it has sold its stake in EAT, the premium end sandwich and coffee company, to Penta Capital in a £39m refinancing, of which Barclays has committed £18m. 

3i originally acquired a minority stake in EAT in 1997, backing entrepreneur Niall Macarthur to establish a high quality brand at the premium end of the sandwich take-away market.  3i has been a long term partner in the business - backing the company through four further investment rounds since the original investment.  EAT currently operates from 45 stores across the country and has built a strong brand, based on a high quality, same day offering. 

Eamon Nolan, 3i Portfolio Manager, commented: "We have built a good relationship with EAT over the last 8 years and have continued to support the company in its ambitious expansion strategy.  This is another successful growth capital deal for 3i, supporting value creation over the long term through a minority investment backing a strong entrepreneur in an exciting market."

Niall MacArthur, Managing Director EAT, commented: "In partnership with 3i, we have successfully grown the company to become one of the leading premium end sandwich shop chains.  With Penta Capital's support, we are looking forward to accelerating the expansion of EAT."

The 3i deal team comprised Eamon Nolan, Portfolio Manager and James Cox, Portfolio Manager.  The shareholders received corporate finance advice from Ben Bailey and Sam Fuller of Altium Corporate Finance.  3i received legal advice from Sarah Massey at Wragge and Co, whilst the company was advised by DLA.  Due diligence was arranged by Grant Thornton and Dickson Minto. 

Notes to editors

About 3i

3i is a world leader in private equity and venture capital.  We focus on buyouts, growth capital and venture capital and invest across Europe, in theUnited States and Asia

Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our relationships in business.  These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio and to our shareholders.

www.3i.com

3i Growth Capital

3i's Growth Capital business focuses on investing minority stakes in high growth companies expanding organically or through acquisition.  The business currently manages 300 investments across Europe and Asia with a value in excess of €1.8bn and invests across a broad range of industry sectors, including healthcare, financial services, food & drink, media, IT services, support services and oil & gas. 

Recent investments include Nimbus, India, €36m; Boxer, Sweden, €84m; Clinica Baviera, Spain, €40m; Williams Lea, UK, €68m; Novem CID, Germany, €25m; Vetoquinol, France, €20m and PEARL, Singapore, €8m. Recent exits include Cannon Avent, UK, €450m; Pets at Home, UK, €330m; Wood Group, UK, €37m; Molnlycke Healthcare, Nordic, €59m and Highland Energy, Germany, €178m.

About EAT

Founded in 1996 by husband and wife team Niall and Faith MacArthur, the first EAT shop opened in Villiers Street in London in October that year.  Just two years later, it was voted Sandwich Bar of the Year, and between November 1997 and August 2002, a further 24 shops were opened.  3i first invested seed capital in the Company in October 1997.  The current estate comprises 45 shops.