March 19, 2015 4:31 pm
CVC freezes Chinese restaurateur’s assets
Tom Mitchell in Beijing and Joseph Cotterill in London
CVC Capital has secured a court order freezing the assets of a flamboyant Chinese restaurant owner who sold a majority stake in her company to the European private equity group last year for $300m. The order, granted on March 6, was directed against Zhang Lan and two other respondents, Grand Lan Holdings Group (BVI) Limited and South Beauty Development Limited. Last April, CVC said it had taken an 83 per cent stake in Ms Zhang’s South Beauty restaurant chain, but the two parties are now involved in an arbitration case.
In giving reasons for his decision to grant the order, Hong Kong High Court Justice Andrew Chung rejected Ms Zhang’s argument that there was “insufficient evidence of a real risk of dissipation of assets”. Justice Chung instead noted that “very substantial sums had been paid by [CVC] and it is still unknown where those sums now are . . . Money is, of course, a relatively liquid form of asset.”The injunction was granted to La Dolce Vita Fine Dining Company, a CVC investment vehicle, and will remain in force pending a forthcoming hearing. Justice Chung also ordered the respondents to disclose certain information.
In giving the reasons for his decision, Justice Chung did not reveal details of the dispute between CVC and Ms Zhang.