Carlyle lists Japan investment on third try

The global firm has exited its majority stake in Chimney Co, listing the restaurant chain operator on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

The Carlyle Group has sold its majority stake in restaurant operator Chimney Co, listing the firm on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, according to a statement. Carlyle’s shareholding is equivalent to 53 percent of issued shares in the business but the firm did not disclose the financial terms of the sale. 

Carlyle had previously made two attempts to list the business during 2012, which were unsuccessful due to market conditions. Carlyle was unavailable for comment at press time. 

Chimney Co specialises in Japanese pub-style restaurants, managing both directly-owned and franchise stores. The firm was previously listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, but Carlyle took the firm private in a management buyout in 2009. Carlyle managing director Hiroyuki Otsuka will continue to be an external director after the transaction. 

“Since our investment in November 2009, Carlyle has worked with Chimney to realise a growth strategy and has been actively involved in the company's management and operation. From its inception, Chimney has been a company with outstanding brand power, product capabilities and corporate culture,” Tamotsu Adachi, managing director and co-head of Carlyle Japan, said in a statement.

Japan’s stock markets have suffered with low valuations this year making it difficult for private equity firms to exit through IPO. Carlyle also cancelled the planned IPOs of two other portfolio companies during 2012 – LCD manufacturer AvanStrate in April and ball bearing manufacturer Tsubaki Nakashima in September.

However, Carlyle has shown commitment to its Japan operations this year. In October, the US firm acquired the Japan unit of sanitation business Diversey in a $377 million buyout. Carlyle also added a second Japan chief to its two buyout funds in the country, promoting Kazuhiro Yamada to co-head of the Japan buyout fund group from managing director in January.