Casual Dining Group hungry for Las Iganuas acquisition

Casual Dining Group hungry for Las Iganuas acquisition

The Casual Dining Group (CDG) has enhanced its brand portfolio with the acquisition of South American-themed restaurant chain Las Iguanas for an estimated £85m.

The company already owns Bella Italia and Café Rouge.

Backed by Apollo Global Management, CDG was reportedly finalising the details of the deal with Las Iguanas current owner, private equity firm Bowmark Capital, last night.

Commenting on the acquisition, Steve Richards, chief executive of CDG, said: "Las Iguanas is a proven, high-quality restaurant business that has been carefully developed over 25 years. It is clearly differentiated and is positioned for significant further growth.

"It fits perfectly with our strategy to create a scalable restaurant group comprising compelling brands, with broad appeal, which deliver industry-leading consumer and financial metrics."

The acquisition of the 41-strong restaurant brand marks step towards the reversal of fortunes for CDG, which was renamed from Tragus Group in March.

The new name drew a line under a period of change for the business, which last year put three companies - Bella Italia Restaurants, Café Rouge and Café Rouge Restaurants - into Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs), and sold 43 Strada sites to Hugh Osmond for £37m.

The business also reduced its debt from £258m to £91m, having refinanced.

CDG plans to open 30 new restaurants over the next 10 months, of which most will be branded Bella Italia, a small number as Café Rouge and seven Las Iguanas.

Mos Shamel, the chief executive of Las Iguanas, will join the CDG board and will continue to lead and develop Las Iguanas. Shamel has worked at Las Iguanas for 12 years, in various roles, having joined when the business comprised just six sites.

He said: "This is a great result for Las Iguanas, which is a hugely successful business, and I'm looking forward to the next stage of its development and growth as part of CDG."

Martin Robinson, chairman of CDG, added: "This is another significant step in delivering on our vision of creating the UK's leading casual dining group. We are delighted to welcome Mos, who with founder Eren Ali, has developed an outstanding brand that is much loved by its customers."

CDG was advised by AlixPartners and Bowmark, by BDO.

Are you looking for a new role? See all the current restaurant vacancies available with The Caterer Jobs >>

Tragus Group renamed Casual Dining Group >>

Tragus boss set to depart >>

Three Tragus companies enter CVAs >>

Bella Italia to open 100 sites in five years >>

Hugh Osmond buys 43 Strada restaurants for £37m >>

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