Cinven sets sail for haven of Guernsey

CINVEN, the private equity giant behind Pizza Express, is transferring its management vehicle to the tax haven of Guernsey.

Its move to Guernsey, a tiny island of around 60,000 people, brings its legal structure in line with much of the rest of the private equity industry.

The buyout firm will also become a limited liability partnership (LLP) as part of the shake-up of its corporate structure. The LLP will act as an adviser in London to Cinven’s funds, which also control restaurants Ask and Zizzi.

Cinven has gone through a series of changes since longstanding managing partner Robin Hall switched to the role of executive chairman in 2009. He was succeeded by Hugh Langmuir (pictured), which insiders said created the opportunity to move to an LLP structure, under which it is easier for changes such as the retirement of partners or the creation of new ones.

A source said tax was a factor in the decision to move but added: “The LLP structure is not a way of avoiding employer National Insurance. The tax contribution from the firm and its partners in the UK is likely to go up substantially: as part of the LLP structure, partners will now officially be self-employed and will, therefore, have to pay NI themselves.”

Last week Cinven and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners agreed to sell Nordic tool distributor Ahlsell to CVC for €1.8bn.