Listed Brazil firm ups stake in restaurant chain

GP Investments has taken a 100% ownership stake in Brazilian restaurant franchise Fogo de Chão after acquiring a 35% stake in the company in 2006.

GP Investments, the publicly listed Sao Paolo firm, has taken full ownership of Brazilian steakhouse franchise Fogo de Chão. Financial details were not disclosed, but the fair market value of the firm’s stake is $95 million, according to a statement.

GP Investments first acquired a 35 percent stake in the company in 2006, committing $32 million from its third Latin America-focused fund as part of an investor group that invested a total of $64 million. Fogo de Chão, which has 16 locations in the US and seven in Brazil, has grown its revenues from $75 million in 2006 to $170 million in 2010. The company aims to open two to three new restaurants in the US per year.

“That’s a very recurring theme for us, looking for established companies in Brazil that we believe have tremendous room to grow elsewhere,” GP Investments managing partner Danilo Gamboa told Private Equity International.

GP investments commits substantial capital to its own funds – the firm committed $500 million to its fifth fund that collected $1.1 billion in 2008 – and has an average hold period of six to eight years. GP Capital Partners V is currently 45 percent invested. The firm said it anticipates coming to market with its next fund in late 2012 at the earliest.

GP Investments is publicly listed on the Brazilian and Luxembourg Stock Exchanges and has raised approximately $5 billion through five buyout funds since its founding in 1993.

The firm manages approximately $3 billion in assets across its GP Capital Partners III, IV and V. In 2006, it became the first Latin American private equity house to go public.