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Friday, 02 February 2018 11:57

Meritage Hospitality on lookout for future deals, CEO says

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Meritage Hospitality execs Gary Rose, left, and Robert Schermer, Jr., right. Meritage Hospitality execs Gary Rose, left, and Robert Schermer, Jr., right. MIBIZ FILE PHOTO

GRAND RAPIDS –– With a string of acquisitions completed early in the year, executives at Meritage Hospitality Group Inc. (OTCQX: MHGU) say they will be on the lookout for the right transactions, but also take some time to integrate their recent deals.

The Grand Rapids-based owner and operator of Wendy’s locations around the country expects to announce another acquisition in about two weeks, CEO Robert Schermer told MiBiz by phone on Thursday.

“After that, we’ll take a breather,” Schermer said, noting the upcoming acquisition will mark the company’s third deal in the first quarter of the year.

Nonetheless, Schermer said the company continues to jump at opportunities as they present themselves, particularly with a goal of getting to 420 restaurants over the next couple years.

Meritage Hospitality currently operates 297 restaurants, largely Wendy’s locations, but also a handful of casual dining operations that it hopes to bolster.

According to a federal securities filing on Thursday, Meritage raised $6.3 million in equity toward a $10 million goal from 18 investors. The raise was affiliated with an acquisition Meritage completed earlier this week that involved 38 Wendy’s locations in Connecticut and Massachusetts, according to Schermer.

The new locations are expected to add around $75 million in total sales and be accretive to Meritage earnings, according to a statement.

Meritage Hospitality reported revenues of more than $235 million in 2016, the most recent year for which filings are available.

The company plans to convert its new locations to its operating and financial systems as well as conduct extensive renovations of the facilities.

Executives told MiBiz in 2016 that each renovation typically costs between $500,000 and $1.4 million.

Meritage also plans to continue to ramp up its casual dining operations in the coming months, with plans to roll out new concepts in Standale at the site of its now-closed Crooked Goose restaurant, as well as in the Belknap Lookout neighborhood north of downtown Grand Rapids.

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