Advent takes on Mexican restaurants

The global private equity firm has appointed a new CEO, Javier Gavilan, to lead casual dining restaurant chain Grupo La Mansion as the firm brings its Latin American investments for the year to a total of $900m.

Boston-based global private equity firm Advent International has acquired Grupo La Mansion, a restaurant operator in Mexico, for an undisclosed amount, Advent said in a statement.

This deal is Advent’s sixth Latin American retail investment since it started investing in the region, the statement said. It is also the firm’s fourth Latin American buyout this year, bringing Advent’s total transaction value in the region to $900 million (€677 million).

“A central part of the investment strategy for La mansion will be to use the company as a platform for consolidating the fragmented Mexican restaurant market,” the statement said.

Advent has chosen Javier Gavilan to become the new chief executive officer of Grupo La Maison, the statement said. Gavilan led Advent’s development of Aerocomidas, an operator of restaurants and bars in Mexican airports, the statement said. His restaurant experience extends further back as well, including the operation of restaurant chains in Spain, Chile and Argentina.

Grupo La Mansion, a family-dining business, owns and operates approximately 12 restaurants and has nine franchises, the statement said. Its chains include a steakhouse, which accounts for approximately 60 percent of the company’s business. The company has also developed an “international cuisine” restaurant called Casa Avila, as well as airport restaurants called Cucara Macara and Sala 21, the statement said. Its businesses are located across Mexico but are primarily in the Mexico City area.

“Advent intents to create value in the business by institutionalizing operations, investing in IT systems and rationalising the group structure, while developing new concepts and rolling out existing concepts in growth areas outside Mexico City,” the statement said. “It also plans to acquire other leading Mexican restaurant chains to increase the size of the business and achieve greater economies of scale.”

Advent has made a number of other investments in Latin America in recent years. In conjunction with Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partments, Netherlands Development Finance Company and Deutsche Investitions und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH, the firm bought Nuveo Banco Comerical, Uruguay’s largest commercial bank, for $167 million in September of 2005. Advent acquired Controladora Milano, Mexico’s largest discount clothing store chain, for approximately $200 million in May.

Advent closed a $375 million fund targeting Latin America, the largest Latin American fund of the decade, in October of 2005.

Founded in 1984, Advent has invested in Latin America for 10 years. Its total investments in the region are more than $3 billion, the statement said. In a poll sponsored by Private Equity Online and sister publication Private Equity International, Advent was voted Latin American Private Equity firm of the year in February.