Polish group AmRest recently announced the purchase of French company Sushi Shop for 240 million euros. The leading Japanese fast-food chain in Europe, Sushi Shop was created in France in 1998 and is now present in a dozen other countries in Europe (U.K., Italy, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands) and the Middle-East (U.A.E., Iran, Saudi Arabia).
The largest independent chain restaurant operator in Central and Eastern Europe, AmRest was founded in Poland in 1993. The conglomerate now owns nearly 1.700 restaurants scattered over 16 different countries (mainly in Europe and China), including 600 franchises of KFC and 300 of Starbucks and Pizza Hut, along with Burger King restaurants.
With revenues totalling 1.2 billion euros last year and majority-owned by Mexican financial conglomerate Finaccess, AmRest’s global ambitions are growing, and fast: the acquisition of Sushi Shop was the third purchase announced last month, along with that of two Spanish brands: food-delivery start-up Globo and burger chain Bacoa, thus reinforcing its presence in Western European markets. Listed on Warsaw’s Stock Exchange since 2005, AmRest also announced its intention to be quoted on Madrid’s Stock Market in the near future.
According to the agreement signed by AmRest and Sushi Shop’s shareholders, the current management of the company should stay in place once the deal is finalized in the coming months. A highly popular brand and leader on its segment, Sushi Shop’s profitability mainly stems from its home-deliveries (over half of total sales) and take-outs (32%). Recently interviewed by French business newspaper Les Echos, Sushi Shop co-founder Grégory Marciano outlined the group’s development strategy to turn it into a “global brand” and increase its presence among large retailers.
One can only hope that this change of ownership might signal Sushi Shop’s upcoming arrival in AmRest’s core markets: Central and Eastern European countries, where the interest and yearning for East Asian gastronomy has been growing by the year.