Pod chief executive Alex Young has told MCA the group is minded to sell to a private equity buyer, after announcing to shareholders it had appointed RSM to oversee a sales process.

Young said the it was time for the group to “catch up”, saying a sale was a natural step after a positive trading last year.

He admitted the 22-strong London based estate was in need of investment, something which a private equity buyer could achieve.

Young, who stay on to oversee the process with RSM, told MCA: “Pod has been around a while, and it’s clear we need to keep up and catch up. It’s a natural step. The time is right having had such a good year last year.

“We’ve got ourselves in a good position and we’ve traded really well over the last 24 months, but if we are to make great strides forward, we need some positive investment.

“I’m extremely excited by it. It will be really good for the business and everyone here.

“The estate definitely needs investment. Anybody that works in London can see that.”

On preferences for a sale, he added: “I think ideally we’d like to sell to a good private equity buyer.”

A full year report for 2018 reported a “dramatic turnaround” for the performance of Pod, following changes implemented by Young in the second half of 2017, which saw improvements to trading and profitability.

However a challenging market, competitor expansion, and slowdown in consumer confidence was cited for impacting the second half of 2018.

The business achieved a £1.2m swing in EBITDA, delivering £0.4m.

Total sales of £17.4m were up from £17.2m in 2017, an increase of 0.9% with two fewer stores, and like for like growth of 4%.

Losses were £432,551 in 2018, from £1.73m in 2017.

However, in a letter to shareholders, chairman David Haimes said there was “significant development capital needed to get the business back on track as it continues to see a drop in sales”.

He added: “This decision has been driven by a continuation of the negative sales trend we experienced in the final quarter of last year. Management believes this trend is caused by a combination of a very tired looking underinvested estate and a very tough trading environment and therefore they need significant development capital to get the business back on track. We have not been able to raise this capital despite a number of attempts and hence concluded the best option for all stakeholders is to run a sales process to find new owners/investors to take the business forward. (Chief executive) Alex (Young) and his management team will be leading the process and are incentivised to achieve the best outcome. We cannot be certain of the exact timing of this process but hope to be able present you with a purchase offer over the coming months. In selecting RSM we have an advisor with a strong reputation that can attract interest from a wide range of potential buyers and manage the sale process efficiently and professionally. If you know of any interested parties who may be interested in joining the sales process please direct them to RSM via our finance director, John Moulton. I hope you can all support this process as we seek to achieve the best possible outcome for all shareholders.”