08/02/2008 - 13:08

Wyllie Group snares controlling stake in Dome Coffees

08/02/2008 - 13:08

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Perth-based private equity investor, Viburnum Funds, has supported a group of management and staff led by CEO Nigel Oakey to acquire control of iconic food retail group Dome Coffees from Asia based Navis Capital Partners.

Wyllie Group snares controlling stake in Dome Coffees

Perth-based private equity investor, Viburnum Funds, has supported a group of management and staff led by CEO Nigel Oakey to acquire control of iconic food retail group Dome Coffees from Asia based Navis Capital Partners.

The deal sees the Dome Group now cemented in Western Australian ownership for the foreseeable future.

Backed by the Wyllie Group, Viburnum will acquire a majority stake in Dome through its Viburnum Private Equity Fund No 1 with the balance held by a group of Dome management and staff.

Viburnum Managing Director Marshall Allen said "Dome represented an exceptional opportunity for the fund given its established identity, strong operating performance and outstanding growth potential. We are acquiring Dome at a point where it is primed for further domestic and international growth" he said.

Mr Allen and Wyllie Group Managing Director Melissa Karlson will join the new board of Dome.

Prior to the acquisition, through Wyllie Group's property holdings, Ms Karlson and Mr Oakey have had a long standing working relationship as property owner and tenant.

Under the new ownership structure, Dome will continue under the management leadership of Mr Oakey.

Mr Oakey headed the management group that joined with Navis to acquire Dome in 2003.

Navis Director Rodney Muse said the group was very pleased with its involvement in Dome.

"The sale is good for Navis in so far as it represents a successful outcome for a capable management team who have also realised our investment aspirations," said Mr Muse.

Dome was the first Navis investment in Australia and is also its first exit from a portfolio of 6 Australian investee companies that include Europcar, Worldwide Online Printing and treat chain Wendy's

"Over the last few years, we have achieved our objectives of building a first class operating system, expansion of retail outlets and the continued development of our brand and customer proposition" said Mr Oakey.

"The partnership with Viburnum now presents an opportunity to realise a more aggressive phase of growth as a multinational retailer with a strengthened platform in Australia.

"The potent blend of our proven, experienced management group and a robust financial partner in Viburnum is an exciting and powerful proposition," said Mr Oakey.

Mr Allen said the Dome acquisition typified the high value opportunities that existed in the WA market.

"We have been very pleasantly surprised by the quality and the quantity of high end investment opportunities for Viburnum"

"Such is the number of opportunities that have come to Viburnum that we are considering accelerating plans for the launch of a second fund," said Mr Allen

Dome was established originally as a specialty coffee roaster and supplier in 1993.

Now operating both the "Dome" and "Cino to Go" brands, the company has over 80 retail locations with a presence in 7 countries.

Its restaurants offer an all-day European café experience in a family friendly setting and strike a point of strong difference in the fast growing casual dining industry.

 

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