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Fri 19th May 2017 - Leon secures £25m investment to expand in the UK and US
Leon secures £25m investment to expand in the UK and US: Healthy eating brand Leon has secured a £25m investment from Spice, a company controlled by GP Investments, chaired by the Brazilian entrepreneur Fersen Lambranho. Spice has agreed to acquire a significant minority stake in Leon and to fund growth. Spice is a listed vehicle on the Swiss Stock Exchange, controlled and managed by GP Investments, a publicly held company, focused on alternative investments, with a major presence in Latin America. The investment will help Leon to continue to expand in the UK and open its first restaurants in the US in the second half of this year. Leon currently has 46 restaurants in the UK with two in the Netherlands. John Vincent, chief executive and co-founder of Leon, said: “To be successful Leon needs the right purpose, the right leaders and the right investors. To become the world’s leading naturally fast food company we need partners who share the vision and can help make it happen. We are fortunate to have been approached by many potential partners. The decision to say yes to Spice was because of the high regard I have for the individuals of GP Investments, who manage Spice. I am also delighted that Active, our existing investor who has been so helpful to our growth, is participating in this fundraising too.” Fersen Lambranho, member of the board of directors of Spice and chairman of GP Investments, said: “Leon is a disruptive fast-food model that was born in the UK but has an immense potential to become global. We see Leon as an opportunity to replicate the great success of its former investment, Fogo de Chão, a Brazilian steakhouse that expanded into the US and is now listed on the NASDAQ.”

Revolution tells market Ebitda will be static this year: Revolution Bars Group has updated the market on expectations for the 52 weeks to 1 July 2017. The company stated: “The underlying sales performance of the business has remained positive in the second half with like for like sales continuing to grow by 1.7% for the year to date and gross margins remaining as expected. The company is experiencing the well-publicised sector cost headwinds from the impact of the living wage, the double increase this year in minimum wage, the new apprenticeship levy, as well as the above inflation increase in general business rates. These increased costs will be more than anticipated in the current year. The company has opened five new Revolucion De Cubas in the last twelve months (and one new Revolution Bar) and whilst the underlying sales performance of these bars remain on track with an average weekly turnover of £43k (net), these bars are taking longer to mature to full profitability than originally anticipated. Additionally, two key sites were closed for just under two weeks for major refurbishment (Blackpool in March and Cardiff in May). All these sites will make a full profit contribution in our next financial year. Consequently, due to the timing of profit maturation at the new Revolucion De Cubas and the industry-wide cost headwinds, the company believes that the adjusted Ebitda (pre-opening costs) out-turn for the year is expected to be broadly at the same level as last year. The directors remain confident in the underlying strength of the business, its brands, the strong customer proposition and the business’s capability to deliver high returns on invested capital. Consequently, it remains the plan to open six new bars in the next financial year.”

C&C Group hires non-executive director: C&C Group, the manufacturer, marketer and distributor of branded cider, beer, wine and soft drinks, has hired Geoffrey Hemphill as a non-executive Director with immediate effect. He is currently an adviser to a number of private asset managers with responsibility for investment origination. He was previously a partner in the private equity group of LJ Partnership, an independent, private wealth partnership with $13 billion under advisory. He was also a partner in the Guinness family private investment house, Iveagh, where he was responsible for private equity, investment origination and execution. Prior to that, he was a director in UBS. Originally from Northern Ireland, Geoffrey is a qualified Solicitor and has worked with the international law firms Slaughter & May and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. Sir Brian Stewart, chairman of C&C, said: “We are delighted to announce Geoffrey’s appointment as a non-executive Director. He brings a distinct perspective which will complement the skill-set of the board as whole.”

Costa launches Cold Brew, industry rumours suggest Whitbread to sell seven sites to Marston’s: Whitbread’s Costa brand has introduced Cold Brew. The drink is made from a single-origin Colombian blend designed for a rich and balanced flavour profile and brewed in-store for 20 hours. The absence of heat during the alternative slow brewing process reduces the acidity sometimes found in coffee, ensuring a sweeter, more nuanced flavour profile which could include fruit, nuts or even chocolate. A range of premium flavours are also available, each designed to enhance the taste profile of the slow brewed, single-origin blend – making it an exciting choice no matter the drinker’s coffee preference. The flavour options include vanilla or caramel and the drink is available in Pure Black or with milk (whole, skimmed and soya milk options are available).Costa Cold Brew will roll out across 200 selected stores in London from May, as well as in several markets globally throughout the year, as Costa continues to spearhead coffee innovation across the world. Kirstey Elston, head of marketing at Costa Coffee, said: “As the nation’s love for coffee continues to grow, we are consistently looking to expand our offering by providing our customers with new and exciting innovations. Costa Cold Brew combines a carefully selected Colombian blend with expert craftsmanship in an alternative 20-hour brewing process for a deliciously smooth and refreshing coffee experience to tempt coffee-lovers everywhere.” Meanwhile, industry rumours suggest Whitbread is the seller of seven site to Marston’s – Marston’s referred to the deal yesterday but declined to name the seller of the sites at the seller’s behest. 

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