Business Growth Fund invests £3m in UK restaurant chain Camino


Business Growth Fund (BGF), the £2.5bn state-backed vehicle aimed at financing UK SMEs, has made a £3m investment in Spanish tapas restaurant chain Camino Leisure.

BGF will take a minority stake in the business, which owns three restaurants in London’s King’s Cross, Canary Wharf and Monument.

A fourth site is due to open in Blackfriars in spring 2013.

The business was founded in 2007 by Richard Bigg and Nigel Foster, who have worked together since opening their first bar in Shoreditch in 1995.

They have since gone on to open a series of bars across London and in Bristol, including Cargo and Cantaloupe in Shoreditch, Market Place near Oxford Street and the Big Chill chain of bars in Kings Cross, Brick Lane and Bristol.

Camino’s current chairman Mark Derry previously built the 36- site Loch Fyne and 20-site Brasserie Blanc restaurants.

BGF’s investment will fund Camino’s rollout plan, which will see the management team open a number of new London sites over the next three years, build brand awareness and create a basis for national expansion in the longer term.

Camino’s current turnover reached £6m at year-end November 2012. The business currently employees 125 people between its head office and three bar-restaurants.

BGF Investment Director, Alistair Brew, said, “Camino is one of the strongest leisure concepts that we have seen.

“It’s responding to the current trend for social dining and stands out with its high level of Spanish authenticity.

“We welcome what is a great opportunity to support an exceptional management team and chairman in taking their business forward.

“With the injection of additional funding, Camino will have the means to build on its already successful format, initially increasing its number of London restaurants and developing a wider UK footprint in the medium to long term.

“There is no doubt that that many UK businesses have been affected by a tightening in consumer spending, but that doesn’t mean that good companies can’t prosper.

“Camino demonstrates that strong growth is possible for businesses with good ideas, strong management and ambition. It is these businesses that BGF is looking to back; and with up to £2.5bn available we are in a position to help.”

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