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ECI makes 4.5x as Bargain Booze floats

Firm makes a healthy return on its 2006 investment.

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Bargain Booze has begun life on the public markets, earning ECI Partners a 4.5x return on its investment.

The firm paid £63.5m (€72.69m) for the alcohol retailer in January 2006, supporting its spin-out from Electra Partners-backed BWG. An exit was first mooted in 2011 when KPMG was appointed to carry out a strategic review, but a sale failed to materialise. It is thought that the firm had already recouped some of its investment through the repayment of shareholder loans. 

Conviviality Retail, the holding company under which Bargain Booze operates, announced plans to list on AIM two weeks ago, and completed the placement process within seven days. The listing was twice oversubscribed, with more than 30 institution participating.

With 611 stores and a strong presence in the North West, Conviviality recorded a turnover of £372m last year with adjusted Ebitda of £12.5m. As a result of the offering, the company is now free of debt. 

Trading under the CVR ticker, the company opened this morning with a market cap of £66.7m. At the time of writing, Conviviality was up 6.6 per cent on its 121 pence opening price.

The exit is ECI's third of the past 12 months. The firm sold healthcare IT company Clinisys to Montagu Private Equity earlier in July for a 2.5x return, while healthcare outsourcer Harmoni was acquired by CareUK last November.