Partner wanted for a universal Pacha

Pacha has outgrown Ibiza and is pursuing, faithful to the name of his company (Universo Pacha SA), “expand” beyond the Balearic archipelago. Universally. The investment fund that controls 87% of its shares, Trilantic Europe (through Mediterranean Sky International SA), considers that the brand of the two cherries is powerful enough to multiply its profitability beyond the Pitiüses, where traditionally concentrated 98% of its business, explains a company source. Its objective is to soon set up a stake in the United Kingdom and another in the Persian Gulf, among other places, for which it has placed the ‘partner wanted’ sign at its headquarters on Avinguda 8 d’Agost in Ibiza.

The sign has hung, yes, visibly for a week, from the moment El Confidencial published that Pacha was being sold for 500 million euros, some 200 million euros more than what Trilantic paid its owner, Ricardo Urgell, in 2017. Universo Pacha did not take long to deny it and to specify that what it intends is not to get rid of the brand, but to “incorporate a new partner” into its expansion process. “We are exploring -comments a spokeswoman for that nightlife company- the possibility of incorporating a partner that allows us to face the development of an ambitious international and national expansion project”. Universo Pacha SA plans to open three new branches: a new restaurant in London in early 2023; another next summer in Mallorca, and, once the summer is over, another one in Dubai. In addition, it participates in Marbella in the construction, together with the Sevillian businessman Rosauro Varo (president of GAT Inversiones), of a ‘beach club’ that will start its activity in the summer of 2023.

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The goal is “to continue expanding the brand, which is a very important asset, so that it has more international visibility.” That is to say, that the cherry trees do not only ripen in Ibiza, which this year have once again borne abundant fruit after two seasons of extreme drought: “Fortunately, the tourism sector has moved a lot in Ibiza, which has led Pacha to recover the pre-pandemic levels of profitability,” says the company’s spokeswoman. A source from the investment group goes further and describes the year as “extraordinary”.

Since 2017, Trilantic has ensured that its strategy was to make profitable abroad all the knowledge of the business that Pacha has in the world of leisure. It does not make sense, points out the source of the investment fund, that a world-known brand concentrates practically all of its income (98%) in Ibiza. Various companies have already “knocked on the door” to show their interest in the brand and in that expansion strategy, they point out from the investment group. Who it will be and how it will be done has not been decided, warns the spokeswoman for Universo Pacha: “There is nothing firm yet. That possibility is being explored. It will depend on who finally decides to participate. Now we are talking to potential investors to see if they are interested in this project and incorporate them in one way or another.

And will Trilantic continue to lead Pacha or is it considering getting rid of its holdings? It is not decided either: “The intention now is to find someone to accompany the development of that project. But to talk about it right now would be to speculate,” explains the spokeswoman. Trilantic Europe invests in the most diverse businesses, from Pirelli tires to Rome airport. At the time, it also backed Talgo and Euskaltel, whose shares it later divested (partially in the case of Talgo), once it cleaned up and improved the structures of both companies.

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From Universo Pacha it also denies that the tremendous blow that the covid meant to its finances is the root of that search for an investment partner. The company went from sales of 47.4 million euros in 2019 to 4.2 million euros in 2020 (-91%). Its results fell by 6,432% during that time: from green numbers (587,000 euros) before the pandemic, to very red numbers (-37.1 million euros) in 2020.

From being the fourth most solvent Ibiza business in 2019, it became the second with the most losses a year later, although everything indicates that with the “extraordinary” results of this summer it will have reversed the consequences of the months of closure forced by the crisis of covid.

Only the daughter remains

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Only a small trace remains of the founder of Pacha in its shareholding: 10%. And it’s not in the name of Ricardo Urgellbut of his daughter, Iria Urgell Calderón. “The time came when my children were not for the work, they have not been fans of the night and the disco. So I thought: sell,” he said. Ricardo Urgell to La Vanguardia two years after charging almost 300 million for the nightclub (and its network) that he created from nothing almost half a century ago in Ibiza (and shortly before in Sitges).

It hurt Urgell (or so he says) to part with his “toy”: “But it was what he had to do […] I sold it with all the pain in the world but the heirs agreed.” Only his daughter, I would gois still linked to the business.

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