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Tue 30th Sep 2014 - Fulham Shore aims for 40 Real Greek sites after £13.9m buy
Fulham Shore aims for 40 Real Greek sites after £13.9m buy: Fulham Shore, the vehicle headed by restaurant veteran David Page, is to launch on AIM after a conditional agreement to acquire 99.04% of the seven-strong Real Greek Restaurant Group’s owner Kefi Limited. Fulham Shore argues there is potential for 40 Real Greek sires across the UK “and a good number of potential locations have already been identified”. A successful opening in Windsor has demonstrated the ability of The Real Greek’s model to operate successfully outside London in towns with populations of more than 20,000, Fulham Shore stated. The Directors are actively seeking more sites, initially in, and within manageable reach of London. An eighth The Real Greek restaurant, in Berwick Street, Soho, central London, is scheduled to open in early 2015. For the year ended 29 June, 2014 Kefi generated revenues of £8.6 million and a profit after tax of £0.8 million. The aggregate consideration for the acquisition is £13.9 million, to be satisfied by the issue of 222,255,000 Ordinary Shares and the payment of the £552,270 in cash. Fulham Shore will withdraw its ordinary shares of 1p each in the company from trading on the ISDX Growth Market and seek admission to trading on AIM. It will also launch a conditional subscription to raise approximately £1.6 million at 6p per Ordinary Share. Fulham Shore stated: “The Real Greek originated as an individual plate, fine dining operation in London. Over the first few years of its existence the model was adjusted in terms of locations (three restaurants were closed whilst seven were opened) and the menu was changed to a meze style, family and friends sharing proposition. Since the acquisition of The Real Greek by Kefi over three years ago, the directors of Kefi have changed The Real Greek’s offer so that it is now delivered at a price that is accessible to average income earners. The average spend per diner at The Real Greek is estimated to be £14, although this is likely to vary in each restaurant depending on the food and drink mix, the layout of the restaurant and the demographics of the customers. Over the past three years The Real Greek has achieved an increase in turnover and profits which the directors of Fulham Shore attribute to this change in menu offering, along with a restructuring of the company’s suppliers, deliveries and operations.” The company added: “The acquisition will result in a fundamental change in the business of the company and therefore constitutes a reverse takeover for the purposes of the ISDX Rules for Issuers. Accordingly, the acquisition requires shareholder approval, which is being sought at a general meeting to be held at the offices of Allenby Capital Limited at 10.00 am on 17 October 2014 (the “General Meeting”). An admission document for the purposes of the proposed admission to AIM (which contains a notice of general meeting), will today be posted to shareholders of the company.”

Eclectic Bar Group reports first full year results: Premium bar operator Eclectic Bar group, led by Reuben Harley, has reported revenue on continuing operations was up 11.7% at £23.0 million (2013: £20.6 million) in the 52 weeks to 29 June. Total revenue including discontinued operation was up 10.1% at £23.3 million (2013: £21.2 million). Profit before tax and highlighted items was £1m, up 10% on the prior year (£900,000). Loss before tax (including discontinued operations) and after highlighted items (the costs associated with the listing and new openings) was £200,000 (2013: profit of £0.9 million). The company has increased the Revolving Credit Facility with Barclays Bank from £1.5 to £5 million to give the Group the capacity for further new acquisitions and allow for further development of existing sites. Since the year-end two leases have been signed in Sheffield and Liverpool. A special dividend of 2.5p will be paid in November 2014. Chief executive Reuben Harley said: “I am pleased to report results in line with our expectations. The Group is developing well and has a firm foundation and an appropriate capital structure following the IPO last year from which to build. We will continue to acquire sites judiciously across the UK and operate a number of different formats depending on the location. The current year will see us reaping the rewards of the investments we have made and we look forward to delivering further progress.” Chairman Jim Fallon said: “The 52 weeks to the end of June 2014 financial year has been a transformational period for Eclectic Bar Group. The highlight was the successful listing on AIM in November 2013. The new base of long term shareholders combined with its new banking facilities  puts the Group in a robust position to continue its growth through new site acquisitions and developments as set out in its strategy on listing. The Group’s strategy is to grow principally by the acquisition and development of individual and groups of sites. There has been significant progress in this regard with the leasehold of Coalition acquired in Brighton in October 2013, the freehold of Coyote Wild in Derby re-opened as a Lola Lo in April 2014, a new lease on Deansgate Locks Manchester opened as the ninth Lola Lo in December 2013, Madame Geisha (an existing site) in Brighton was closed and refurbished as the Group’s first Dirty Blonde and Lowlander (leasehold) acquired in Covent Garden. The acquisition of Lowlander (through the acquisition of Newman Bars Ltd) brought not only a high quality central London site, but also expertise in food. We anticipate utilising this concept in other locations. Consequently, our estate has grown by four bars in the period. The premium bar market remains fragmented and continues to present the Group with a significant opportunity to grow, albeit in a measured and prudent way. The Group’s focus will continue to be providing premium bars for young, sophisticated professionals and students who are seeking added value through superior service and a high quality experience. We remain focussed on delivering the most aspirational venue available in any given location. The financial highlights are fully reported on in the strategic report; however I am pleased with the progress for the year. The Group is well financed having repaid out of the proceeds of the listing £7.3 million of shareholder debt at the time of the IPO. Net debt at the period end stood at £2.0 million (2013: £8.2 million). To finance our growth the Group has extended its revolving credit facility with Barclays Bank from £1.5 million to £5 million. Since the year-end, we have signed leases for two new sites in Sheffield and Liverpool. Additionally, after the year end, a major investment was made in refurbishing and reconfiguring Embargo renaming it Embargo Republica. Eclectic continues to consider single site and asset group acquisitions and currently has a good pipeline.”

British Land to develop 100,000 square foot Plymouth leisure scheme: British Land has signed an agreement with Plymouth City Council to develop Drake Circus Leisure, a circa 100,000 sq ft leisure scheme next to its 570,000 sq ft Drake Circus Shopping Centre in Plymouth city centre. The £40 million development will include a 12 screen cinema operated by Cineworld, 13 restaurant units and 450 car park spaces. The site currently houses a coach station which will be relocated. A detailed planning application for the scheme is now being developed and will be submitted in early 2015. The leisure development will complement Drake Circus Shopping Centre, broadening its appeal, establishing it as an evening destination and extending its trading hours. Since its acquisition by British Land in 2011, Drake Circus has successfully attracted a range of brands, including Apple, Fat Face and YO! Sushi. 10,000 sq ft of lettings were agreed recently; adding new brands such as schuh Kids, Boux Avenue, Regus Express and Ed’s Easy Diner, and bringing occupancy to 100%. David Pollock, retail development director for British Land, said: “Plymouth has a very strong local catchment, and a vibrant and successful city centre, which will be further enhanced by our investment. The proposed leisure scheme creates an opportunity to take Drake Circus to the next level, and with a number of new brands added, is a very strong example of our strategy to create Places People Prefer. We are delighted to be working with Plymouth City Council on this project to establish Drake Circus as the West Country’s retail and leisure destination of choice.” Plymouth has a large and affluent catchment of 560,000 people and benefits from a thriving tourist trade which welcomes 3.4 million visitors annually. The catchment has a comparison goods spend of £1.4 billion and £103 million catering spend potential.

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