Lenard’s founder back in charge

Inside Franchise Business: LenardÕs founder back in chargeEmbattled food-retailer, Lenard’s Chicken is back under the direction of founder Len Poulter, following a buyout deal with minority stakeholder, Blue Sky Alternative Investments (ASX:BLA).

Poulter, who founded the franchise more than 30 years ago faces an uphill battle to re-establish Lenard’s, after it was revealed in March, the business had only just broken even in the first half of FY18, down from a normalised profit of $400,000 a year earlier.

The news comes after the private equity firm confirmed its EC2010 fund had exited investment in the brand, after previously putting the business up for sale.

It is believed that under the terms of the sale, Blue Sky will also provide Poulter with a working capital facility to complete the deal.

Speaking with Inside Franchise Business, Blue Sky Alternative Investments said, “Blue Sky worked alongside the management of Lenard’s to secure an outcome that is the best interests of all stakeholders.”

The private equity firm had been involved with the franchise since 2008, when it took up a 42 per cent stake in the company; however, recent struggles had put a strain on the working relationship.

It was reported that Blue Sky had been working with administrators, Ferrier Hodgson since earlier this year, however reiterated that its involvement was purely strategic rather than insolvency-based.

The franchise network currently holds 80 stores nation-wide, a dramatic decrease from the 200 it saw in 2015.