Permira-backed Consumer invests in Japanese sushi chain Akindo

Irish investor Consumer Equity Investments Ltd (CEIL), backed by British buyout firm Permira Advisers LLP, said on Friday it had agreed to buy the stake held by Japan’s Unison Capital Inc in local sushi restaurant chain Akindo Sushiro Co Ltd.

The transaction values the Japanese business at about USD1bn (EUR797bn) in terms of enterprise value. It represents the fourth investment in Asia supported by the Permira funds and also the second one in Japan alone after the purchase of agrochemical business Arysta Lifescience Corp in 2008.

CEIL said it will assist the management team of Akindo Sushiro in extending the business’ store network domestically and internationally. Both the Irish firm and the Permira funds are committed to providing funding resources for this purpose, while maintaining the Japanese company’s independence, Permira partner Alex Emery stated.

Osaka-based Akindo Sushiro has established itself over the last few years as the number-one revolving sushi restaurant chain in the country in terms of revenue and currently operates 335 revolving counter sushi bars. As of December 2011, the company also has presence in South Korea. For the fiscal year to 30 September 2011, Akindo Sushiro generated a revenue of some JPY100bn (USD1.3bn/EUR1bn). It has a headcount of more than 1,000 full time and 10,000 part time employees.

Nomura Securities offered financial advice to CEIL in this transaction.