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Dublin: 7 °C Wednesday 22 January, 2020

Italian job for Chinese as private equity firm snaps up Milano's

The first Irish branch of the chain opened in Dublin in 1995.

Image: Milanos

ITALIAN RESTAURANT CHAIN Milano’s is to be sold to a Chinese player as part of a €1.1 billion deal.

The buyer is Hony, a Chinese private equity firm that has multiple manufacturing, retail and media interested in Asia.

The chain, which is known as Pizza Express in the United Kingdom, has over 500 restaurants, with around a dozen in Ireland. It employs 9,000 people and recently expanded into China, opening its first store in Beijing.

The first branch of the chain opened on Dublin’s Dawson Street in 1995.

Pizza Express chief executive Richard Hodgson said that the purchase is “a very positive development at an exciting time for the business”.

The chain was previously owned by restaurant giant The Gondola Group.

Hony chief executive John Zhao said that he is optimistic about growing the brand in Asia.

“With PizzaExpress, we have the opportunity to leverage our local expertise to accelerate its growth in the Chinese market, as well as to continue to drive its business forward in the UK.”

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Jack Horgan-Jones

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