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Gaucho Grill, is to be taken private in a £13.2m (US$19.1m) management buyout which will see the company’s independent directors buy the entire share capital.

Listed on the AIM, Gaucho Grill will be bought by Pan European restaurants, an entity created specifically to buy Gaucho. Pan European is partly owned by the Gioma group, a company in which Gaucho’s chairman Zeev Godik and operations manager Jan Geenemans hold an equity interest. The other 76% of Pan European is owned by investment company Furtado, which is controlled by the same group of private investors who control Gioma, reports

2002 sales at Gaucho Grill restaurants are reported to be running 9.4% ahead of last year, primarily thanks to new openings. The directors have already said that some underperforming restaurants may have to be closed, although Pan European said it is planning no major changes to the business over the coming year.

Godik and Geenemans first announced plans for a management buyout in July last year but cancelled in October because of economic uncertainties and “bad timing”.