Soho House eyes fur­ther clubs

The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Business - By Bradley Ger­rard

SOHO House will push on with a planned ex­pan­sion af­ter dis­miss­ing its fail­ure to re­fi­nance in the bond mar­kets as a “blip”.

Nick Jones, the chief ex­ec­u­tive, said he was aim­ing to open three sites a year, which are all mem­ber-only clubs tar­geted at peo­ple in the cre­ative in­dus­tries. This plan re­mained stead­fast even af­ter its failed at­tempt to re-tap the bond mar­kets in 2015, he said. Two years ago the com­pany was look­ing to re­fi­nance a £145m 2018 bond which was pay­ing 9pc in­ter­est with a new £200m five-year is­suance, but the deal was pulled, prompt­ing a se­ries of rat­ing agency down­grades.

In­vestors were con­cerned that rev­enue growth was ris­ing fast but not as quickly as the costs of its cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture plans.

But the com­pany, founded in 1995 with one club in Lon­don, ear­lier this year se­cured £275m of fund­ing from Per­mira Debt Man­agers, pre­vi­ously an in­vestor in the com­pany’s bonds. This means it will plough on with plans to en­ter In­dia next year with a Mum­bai “house”. Fur­ther houses will also open in New York and LA next year while in Lon­don its 40 Greek Street site will re­open in Jan­uary and a new site at the for­mer BBC premises in White City will ap­pear in 2018.

“Not get­ting the bond away was an un­for­tu­nate blip but we re­cov­ered very quickly,” Mr Jones said. Per­mira came to them to of­fer fund­ing at a “con­sid­er­ably cheaper” rate than what the bond would have been, he said.

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