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Sun 4th Aug 2013 - Breaking News - Kuwaiti firm adds Little Chef to UK business
Kuwaiti foodservice firm buys Little Chef: Kuwaiti-based foodservice firm Kout Food Group has expanded its UK presence by buying 78 of the 80-strong Little Chef restaurant estate from private equity firm R Capital in a deal estimated to be worth around £15m. The deal was completed late on Thursday night but the announcement was delayed until this morning to allow the company to inform the Kuwait Stock Exchange, which re-opens today after a two-day shutdown. Kout Food Group already has a sizeable business in the UK that stretches from fast food franchises through to a London noodle bar brand. The company partnered Wagamama founder Alan Yau to open Cha Cha Moon in 2008 and last year it launched Chi Wok, an Asian Fusion concept at the Westfield White City Shopping Mall with other sites now being sought. Kout also owns Maison Blanc, the artisan bakery which supplies Waitrose, Starbucks, Booths and the Mitchells & Butlers estate, including Ember Inns, Vintage Inns, Village Pub & Kitchen, Miller & Carter and Browns Bar & Brasserie. In addition, the bakery supplies 14 Maison Blanc shops based within London and the south east. In 2012, Kout, as part of its international expansion strategy, acquired the franchise rights for a total of eight Kentucky Fried Chicken sites in the UK from Banquets New Chicken for 2.25m Kuwaiti dollars to add to its existing UK fast food franchise business involving 33 branches of Burger King. It is understood that Kout Food Group was the only bidder that wanted to keep the Little Chef brand going. Little Chef attracted interest from a range of fast food and coffee companies, which looked at converting the brand’s roadside estate to their own brands. R Capital will keep two of the estate’s largest sites, on either side of the A34 in Sutton Scotney, Hampshire with a view to expanding them. Kout also operates 60 Burger King, 48 Pizza Hut franchises, five Applebees and four Taco Bells sites in the Middle East – and some of its own brands such as Scoop a Cone and Ayyame.

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