The management team behind Loch Fyne Restaurants (LFR) has completed a buy out of its Le Petit Blanc chain for £3m, including debt.
It has been renamed Blanc Brasseries and will operate independently of Loch Fyne Restaurants, which has been its home since June 2003.
LFR's Mark Derry and Ian Glyn have teamed up with John Lederer, previously operations director at Masala Zone, Le Petit Blanc founder Raymond Blanc and LFR's ex-chairman Jeremy Hardie, for the purposes of the deal.
They plan to raise £6m to expand the chain from five sites to 20 by 2009, targeting mid-sized towns such as Cambridge, Bristol and Guildford.
Private equity company Core Growth Capital is supplying £3m of funds, and £2.5m will be raised through the tax efficient Enterprise Investment Scheme, which Loch Fyne itself used before Hutton Collins stepped in last year.
The management team have put in £500,000 between them, and an additional £3.5m for expansion will be raised through bank debt.
Derry, executive director of Blanc Brasseries, said: "Blanc Brasseries needs a separate focus to realise the full potential of Raymond's original idea. The concept is now at a stage where we believe it represents an attractive investment opportunity."
Created by Michelin-starred chef Raymond Blanc in 1996, the chain has restaurants in Birmingham, Cheltenham, Manchester, Oxford and Tunbridge Wells.
By Chris Druce
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