Fran­chise group to cash in on Crust chain

The Cairns Post - - BUSINESS - JOHN DAGGE

RE­TAIL Food Group is look­ing to sell its Crust Gourmet Pizza chain but the em­bat­tled fran­chise op­er­a­tor has hosed down ex­pec­ta­tions about what price it will achieve.

The group, which also owns Michel’s Patis­serie, Glo­ria Jeans, Brumby’s Bak­ery and Donut King, said it was look­ing to sell as­sets in or­der to lower a $260 mil­lion debt pile.

The listed fran­chise giant en­tered a trad­ing halt yes­ter­day after me­dia re­ports suggested it was work­ing on a deal to sell Crust for $100 mil­lion. Crust is the na­tion’s third-largest pizza chain with more than 150 out­lets across Aus­tralia. Re­tail Food con­firmed it was con­sid­er­ing sell­ing the chain but de­nied a sale could raise $100 mil­lion.

Shares in the group had surged by more than 20 per cent in early trade ahead of it go­ing into a trad­ing halt.

“The com­pany con­firms it will seek to re­duce its debt by var­i­ous means in­clud­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the pos­si­ble sale of as­sets,” it said in a state­ment lodged with the Aus­tralian Se­cu­ri­ties Ex­change.

“In­so­far as an amount for the sale of Crust Gourmet Pizza is spec­u­lated … that amount ex­ceeds RFG’s ex­pec­ta­tions as to the sale price for that as­set if it was to be sold as a part of that process.”

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