Be At One to step up expansion thanks to new financing deal

Be at One portraits. photo by Rob Wilkinson

Cocktail bar group Be At One is accelerating its national expansion programme after completing a new £20 million refinancing deal.

It has agreed new senior debt facilities with Santander UK which, together with cashflow, will enable the company to expand its current portfolio of 33 bars to 70 over the next five years.

Toby Rolph, chief financing officer at Be At One, said: “After a very thorough process during the summer months – exploring how we best fund the next stage of our growth – we are delighted to have successfully concluded this exercise with a very competitive refinancing package from Santander.

“That we were able to secure this deal at a time when some other leisure businesses are reporting a challenging debt market and experiencing difficult trading conditions speaks to the exceptional quality of our business and its continued strong performance.”

Since opening its first Be At One in south London in 1998, the group has grown into the leading, nationwide specialist cocktail bar brand. It is majority owned by the three co-founders. Steve Locke, Rhys Oldfield and Leigh Miller, and Piper, the private equity firm. The co-founders continue to manage the business alongside Toby Rolph and chief operating officer Andrew Stones.

The group reports that it has seen strong and uninterrupted revenue growth for more than a decade, delivering consistent like-for-like sales growth, making it well-positioned for continued expansion.

Andrew added: “Our focus on delivering the exceptional Be At One guest experience is clearly paying off, and the conclusion of this process marks the start of the next chapter in our growth.

“With a strong pipeline and an ambitious growth programme, we look forward to delivering the unique Be At One experience – of high-quality cocktails and excellent service in a great atmosphere – to all of our guests across the UK.”

The conclusion of the refinancing process comes amid continued strong trading for the Be At One business, with like-for-like sales growth of 6.5% for the six months to the end of August 2017 versus the same period last year. Group earnings (EBITDA) have grown strongly to £5.5 million for the last 12 months on sales of £39 million.

Be At One was advised by AlixPartners, with Addleshaw Goddard providing legal support.

Pictured, left to right: Steve Locke, Toby Rolph, Rhys Oldfield, Andrew Stones and Leigh Miller

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