Iceland bosses take control of Individual Restaurants estate in £40m deal

Sir Malcolm Walker, founder and boss of the Iceland stores chain, has acquired the Individual Restaurants estate out of administration in a deal reported to be worth more than £40m.

Individual Restaurants includes the Piccolino, Restaurant Bar & Grill, Opera Grill and Bank brands. The deal does not include the Gino D’Acampo-branded sites.

Ice Acquisitions is the vehicle used to purchase the brands, which is controlled by Sir Malcolm Walker and Tarsem Dhaliwal, Iceland’s group managing director.

As a result of the acquisition around 28 restaurants and 1,3000 jobs will be secured.

Tarsem Dhaliwal said: “Like other hospitality businesses throughout the UK, these restaurants have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am delighted that we have been able to secure a solution that safeguards 1,300 jobs in these excellent restaurants, and provides an opportunity for these great eating-out brands to flourish again when the current pandemic is over.”

Daniel Smith and Clare Boardman, restructuring partners at Deloitte, completed the sale of the trading business and assets of Restaurant Bar & Grill Ltd, following their appointment as joint administrators.

The sale also included certain debtors and leasehold interests in related non-trading group companies W2D2 Ltd, Individual Restaurant Company Ltd and Bank Restaurant Company Ltd.

Immediately following the appointment of administrators, the trade and assets of the business were sold to Ice Acquisitions.

All c.1,300 RBG employees were successfully transferred to the purchaser under TUPE, with the purchaser taking a licence to occupy all 31 pre-existing sites.

No redundancies are being announced as a result of the administration.

Ice Acquisitions also intends to honour all deposits paid by customers and the RBG loyalty points scheme.

The wider Individual Restaurant Group companies, including its business trading under the Gino D’Acampo brands, are unaffected by the administration and sale of the RBG business.

Daniel Smith, joint administrator, said: “Like many restaurant operators, RBG has been severely impacted by the restrictions brought in as a result of COVID-19.

“This successful sale will provide RBG with an opportunity to restructure its business to secure its future for the long term.

“I’m particularly pleased that we have been able to secure the continued employment of all the company’s workforce, and we’d like to thank all employees and key stakeholders for their support throughout this process.”

The Individual Restaurants Group, previously based in Manchester, is now registered at Second Avenue, Deeside Industrial Park, Deeside, the same address as the Iceland stores business.

In June this year Sir Malcolm and Tarsem Dhaliwal were involved in the £115m deal to take full ownership of the Deeside-based frozen food chain.

The pair bought South African investment firm Brait’s shareholding in the business through their newly-established company.