• Dolce refinanced

Dolce International, which claims to be the world’s leading conference centre chain with 26 properties in North America and Europe, has recapitalised to enable a faster expansion.

Broadreach Capital Partners, the US private equity firm that digested executives from Maritz, Wolff & Co in 2006, has bought out Dolce’s existing backers AEW and Soros Real Estate Investors.

No figures were disclosed save that the stake sold was 85% with the other 15% remaining in the hands of management.

With Broadreach, however, Dolce believes it has a backer to help quicken its lacklustre rate of expansion over the last few years.

Philip Maritz, managing director of Broadreach and co-founder of Maritz, Wolff, said that hitherto the conference centre market has been overlooked by investors.

This is probably not a perspective shared by Permira who earlier this year paid a punchy £32.5m, a sub 2% yield, to buy the St David’s Hotel & Spa in Cardiff to add to its Principal Hotel chain.

And in May it announced the acquisition of the Hayley Conference Centre chain for £358m. These nine sites are being added to Principal’s existing eight-strong hotel portfolio to create a 17-strong chain focused on the meetings market.

The newly refinanced Dolce could now be a serious contender for the former Initial Style chain, currently badged as De Vere Venues.

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