Anglian Country Inns acquires seventh site: Anglian Country Inns, the award-winning operator of gastro-pubs and restaurants led by James Nye, has acquired its seventh site. The company has added The King’s Head in Letheringsett, Norfolk, to its portfolio. The pub, situated in a parkland setting near to the market town of Holt, features casual dining areas alongside a traditional bar, four guest bedrooms and a garden. Nye said: “The King’s Head is a very welcome addition to our growing hospitality estate. We pride ourselves on the fact that each of our establishments are run independently and have their own charm and individual style, this will remain the case with The King’s Head. We look forward to taking the pub’s sterling reputation to the next level, building on its success with our company values and knowhow. There is a great team at The King’s Head already and we are very excited to be working with Emma Darby and her staff. Having recently received three stars from the Sustainable Restaurant Association we will be strengthening our local ethos by bringing lots more locally sourced produce on to the menu as well as a great variety of local and regional ales. With bustling Holt on our doorstep as well as beautiful countryside, there is plenty for our guests to explore before returning to our comfy guest rooms. It truly is an idyllic place for people to experience all that is on offer in stunning north Norfolk and is a great addition to our family group.”
Fuller’s chief executive receives pay of more than £1.2m in 2015, company’s annual report reveals: Fuller’s chief executive Simon Emeny received remuneration of more than £1.2m last year, the company’s 2016 annual report has revealed. Emeny’s pay of £1,244,000 consisted of £383,000 salary and fees, £25,000 in taxable benefits, £223,000 annual bonus, £512,000 in long-term incentives, and £101,000 pension. Finance director James Douglas received remuneration last year of £920,000, which was made up of £279,000 in salary and fees, £22,000 in taxable benefits, £163,000 annual bonus, £407,000 in long-term incentives, and £49,000 pension. The report also revealed Ian Bray, who resigned as managing director of The Beer Company in May, would receive a payment of £169,000 and no annual bonus or long-term incentives. Remuneration committee chairman Alaistair Kerr said: “The remuneration policy is designed to support the company’s business strategy of creating shareholder value and increasing earnings per share in the longer term for its shareholders. In order to do so it must attract, retain and motivate high calibre executive directors. The policy is therefore to provide competitive packages for the executives, through reflecting the group’s performance against financial objectives and rewarding above-average performance. Accordingly, the key elements are a significant proportion of performance-related pay that rewards executives in line with company performance and strongly aligns their interests with those of shareholders, personal bonus targets for operational directors that focus on delivery of the strategic drivers for growth in the company’s business strategy, base pay that rewards above-average performance and remains competitive, a competitive range of benefits, and participation in a range of share schemes, including a long term incentive plan.” Earlier this month, Fuller’s reported turnover rose 9% to £350.5m in the year to 26 March. Adjusted profit before tax was up 12% to £40.9m, with 4.8% like-for-like sales growth in its managed division and like-for-like profits up 2% in its tenanted and leased division.
Coal Grill and Bar owner reports increase in turnover and Ebitda, acquiring two more sites and agrees further banking facilities: Charterhouse Leisure, which trades as Coal Grill and Bar and Severn Shed, has reported an increase in turnover and Ebitda as well as reduced losses. The company saw turnover rise 19.6% to £12,225,000 for the year ending 28 June 2016, compared with 10,218,000 the previous year, according to accounts filed with Companies House. It made a pre-tax loss of £100,000, compared with a loss of £363,000 the year before. The company had ten restaurants at the year-end with two more shortly to be acquired and has also agreed further facilities with its banks and investors. It said it plans to build a chain of restaurants under the Coal Grill and Bar brand. The company stated: “The group has delivered another strong financial performance, reflecting the hard work and commitment of the management and staff teams. Total revenue increased by 19.6% from £10.2m to £12.2m. The group uses Ebitda (operating profit before exceptional items, interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) as a key measure of its performance, serving as a guide to cash flows generated from operations. Site Ebitda grew from £1.6m last year to £1.8m this year, an increase of 12.5%. Group Ebitda for the year of £1,094,000 was an increase of 22% on the prior years’ Ebitda of £890,000. At the year-end, the group had ten restaurants with two more shortly to be acquired. The focus throughout the year has been on improving the brand awareness of our Coal Grill and Bar brand in the centres where we trade and to effectively market to our wide demographic customer base. Competition has been fierce for sites throughout the year and we remain very disciplined in our strategy to secure new sites on affordable rents and at a capital investment cost which enables us to continue to deliver shareholder value. We continue to trade very well against our peers in all of the centres where we operate. The group aims to provide fresh good quality food and service at affordable prices. Looking forward, the group is keen to continue to open new stores and is focusing on delivering a healthy pipeline of new opportunities to expand the Coal Grill and Bar brand. The eating out market continues to grow across the country and is now very much a part of many people’s lifestyle, which gives the board confidence to continue to expand over the forthcoming years. During the year, a group reconstruction was undertaken. Restaurant Afrique was dissolved and Charterhouse Leisure became the immediate parent company of Organic Venturers and State of the Art Restaurants. As Restaurant Afrique acted only as a holding company, there has been no impact on the consolidated income statement or goodwill in subsidiaries. The directors plan to build a chain of restaurants under the Coal Grill and Bar brand name. Since the year end the group has agreed further facilities with its investors and bankers which will enable in to open new restaurants over the next few years.”
Apostrophe sees fall in turnover: Cafe operator Apostrophe saw turnover fall to £3,858,909 in the nine months to 31 December 2015, compared with £7,249,619 for the year ending 31 March 2015. It made a pre-tax loss of £1,151,057, compared with £1,539,986 in the prior period, according to accounts filed with Companies House. The company stated: “During the period the trading portfolio remained stable. The brand enjoys a loyal customer following and the sales are well balanced between food and drink participation and eat in versus takeaway. On 1 June 2015, in order to facilitate the merger between CH & Co Catering and HCMGH, CH & Co Catering sold its investment in Apostrophe Restaurants to Wyfold Farm (Investments), a company owned by Robyn and Tim Jones. Apostrophe was subsequently purchased by the newly formed group on 17 November 2015. The company measures the performance of its business with reference to turnover, gross profit and operating margin. Turnover for the period of £3.9m was slightly down on the prior year equivalent period. The gross profit margin of 36% was down versus the prior year of 39.4%. Measures to curb overheads have been implemented and the net loss was therefore lower than the equivalent period in the prior year. The directors are disappointed with business performance and look forward to significant improvement in the new financial year. The disappointing results of the period to 31 December 2015 gave rise to the need for a reassessment of the customer proposition with a relaunch of the brand proposition and offer taking place during 2016.”
Grand Union opens new restaurant and bar concept in Wapping, features coffee, florist and barbershop partnerships: Grand Union, the London-based bar operator led by Adam Marshall, has opened its new restaurant and bar concept Trade Union in Wapping, which involves partnerships with selected trades that are experts in their field. The 6,300 square foot site in Thomas More Square is designed to be a multi-layered experience. In addition to an enhanced restaurant and bar offering, Grand Union has entered into partnerships to include an artisan coffee house, florist and barbershop, along with a free workspace environment at the venue. Grand Union has teamed up with Vagabond, which is offering all-day coffee, with bean and ground coffee available to buy alongside some home-brewing equipment. Drakes of London offers male hairdressing and grooming at the venue, while the florist is Maua London. Trade Union offers seasonal cocktails and a pizza-focused menu that features “just-out-of-the-oven sourdough pizzas and fresh, New York-inspired dishes”. In May, Grand Union chairman Luke Johnson said: “Adam’s Trade Union concept is a new avenue, which we are all very excited about. It retains some important elements of the existing brand and brings a new concept through strategic partners. We believe this could be a transformative step for the business.”
EAT launches first ‘open-look’ concept store outside London with Chichester site: EAT, the fresh food-to-go brand, has launched its first “open-look” concept store outside London, in Chichester, West Sussex. The Chichester site in North Street sees the extension of the new concept into a market town format, gearing the menu, service and environment around a “relaxing place to meet and spend time for great seasonal food and handcrafted coffee”. The new design is the platform for the next phase of expansion for the company, with stores having opened in London – in Finsbury Pavement and Ealing Broadway – and further roll-out planned during the next 12 months. Unlike other stores, all the cooking and serving is visible so customers can see the soups being stirred and garnished and the coffee being ground from the open kitchen and service area. Later in the year, EAT will open its largest store – in Liverpool Street station. At 2,840 square feet, it will adopt the new format to serve the 122 million passengers passing through the station each year. Brand director Sarah Doyle said: “EAT will be expanding beyond London over the next 12 months, and the new store format is a key feature of the roll-out.”
Deltic Group opens second Steinbeck & Shaw site, in Bristol: The Deltic Group has opened its second Steinbeck & Shaw site, this time in Bristol. The company has converted the former Myu cocktail bar in Canons Road, creating 30 jobs. Steinbeck & Shaw, which was launched in Canterbury in Kent last September, has a “stripped-back, raw and contemporary feel” that exploits the existing architecture. Walls display graffiti art, skull imagery and modern sculptures. As part of its premium offer, customers have the option to upgrade to S&S+, the venue’s ultimate VIP party experience. Packages will include fast track entry, complimentary cloakroom and dedicated service in a private party area. Music is an eclectic mix of high-energy party music, floor-filling vocal dance tunes and commercial chart-topping RnB. The bar offers an extensive range of premium spirits, fresh cocktails and craft beers, while the menu includes gourmet street food, burgers and hot dogs. Venue manager Holi Scott told the Bristol Post: “Steinbeck will primarily be a great place to party, with ten pre-bookable booths, tables and private areas, with outstanding levels of service provided by a talented team of hosts and hostesses, guaranteed for a fun and memorable night out.”
Customer engagement platform Cheerfy hits £180,000 crowdfunding target: Customer engagement platform Cheerfy, which aims to deliver “memorable customer experiences” at hotels and restaurants, has hit its £180,000 target on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. The company, founded by Carlos Gomez and Adrian Maseda, is offering a 7.08% equity stake in return for the investment. So far, 121 investors have pledged £187,980 and it is now “overfunding” with four days remaining having previously extended the campaign by two weeks. The largest investment to date is £27,000. The pitch states: “Cheerfy uses Wi-Fi hot spots as a beacon to share customer presence and information from business customer relationship management (CRM), online e-commerce platforms, loyalty systems, employees and customers themselves. Employees get this information in real time (on customer arrival), when and where they need it to personalise the service they offer. To date, our strategy has been quality rather than quantity, which has taken us to high-end restaurants and hotels in New York, London, Madrid and Lisbon. The funds raised in this round will be used for business development and product development to build deeper integration in the retail or hospitality space (CRMs, property management systems) and build chat capabilities between businesses and their customers.”
Masseria Group seeks three London sites for its Italian brand Ostuni: Masseria Group, which operates cafes, gastro-pubs and retail spaces in north west London, including The Salusbury and The Chamberlayne, is seeking three new sites for its upmarket Italian brand Ostuni. The company currently operates two branches of the Puglia-inspired brand in north west London, with the original opening in Queen’s Park in 2013, while a second launched in Highgate this month. Masseria Group founder Rob Claassen said he was looking to open three more venues in the next 18 months, and had appointed Colliers International to search for sites in Kensington, Chelsea, Marylebone and Richmond. He told Property Week: “Ostuni’s integrated kitchen and dining space means units measuring a minimum of 2,000 square feet are required. The potential to create an open-concept space is important when recreating an authentic Puglian dining experience.”
Flying Pig & Lobster opens second pub: Flying Pig & Lobster, which is owned by Revolution founders Roy Ellis and Neil McLeod and celebrity chef Simon Rimmer, has opened its second pub. The company, which owns The Elephant Pub & Bakehouse in Woolton Village, has launched The Viking Pub & Bakehouse in West Kirby, Wirral, on the site of the former Hilltop pub. It has opened following a £1.1m refurbishment, creating 60 jobs. The pub’s name and design is inspired by West Kirby’s Viking heritage – originally “Kirkjubyr” meaning “village with a church”. Research trips to Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland provided the team with references to give The Viking an authentic Scandinavian feel. There is even a clinker-built 25-foot Viking long boat in the garden complete with oars and shields. The Viking provides internal dining for 160, a public bar area, 60-cover dining terrace, 70 garden covers and a function room for up to 60. More unusual features include a free photo booth, a children’s cinema room, boules court and table tennis. The food offer is also inspired by Scandinavia and the Nordic regions, with an emphasis on fresh fish and dishes such as sweetheart waffles and smorgasbords for family sharing. The Viking offers freshly cooked speciality breads, including cranberry rye, focaccia and house sourdough. The pub serves Budweiser Budvar fresh tank beer, which is stored in giant copper barrels and the first fresh tank beer on the Wirral. There are also cask ales, Scandinavian craft and imported German beers, cider, artisan blended soft drinks, fresh juices and an eclectic wine list developed by Boutinot Wines.
Upham Group submits plans for newly acquired Haslemere pub: Upham Group, which operates a portfolio of 15 venues, has submitted plans to extend The Inn on the Hill pub in Haslemere, Surrey, which it acquired from Punch last year. The company has applied to Waverley Borough Council to provide seven bedrooms with a larger restaurant and bar area and improved parking. The supporting design and access statement said: “It is our view, and hope, that with these improvements to the Inn on the Hill, it might become a valuable, visual and social asset to Haslemere and help provide attractive and useful facilities for tourists and local people as well as providing employment and will therefore contribute to a thriving economy.” Upham Group acquired the 19th-century pub, which is opposite the station, from Punch after the leaseholders went into liquidation last year, reports the Haslemere Herald.
Living Ventures sets date for Gusto’s Birmingham launch: Gusto, the Italian restaurant brand operated by Living Ventures, will open its venue at The Grand Hotel in Birmingham city centre on Friday, 23 September. Living Ventures will also open a site at the development in Colmore Row for its cocktail bar and restaurant brand The Alchemist in September, although a firm date has yet to be set. In January, Living Ventures took three units at the grade II-listed Grand Hotel building in a deal struck with Hortons’ Estates, which is restoring the property along with ten commercial units. Gusto and The Alchemist will occupy about 5,000 square feet each. Jeremy Roberts, chief executive of Living Ventures, told the Birmingham Mail: “We have had our sights on Birmingham for some time. Colmore Row is the city’s most prestigious street and The Grand undoubtedly its most iconic building. We look forward to bringing two different but equally exciting brands to the city.” Specialist coffee roaster and retailer 200 Degrees will also open a site at Grand Birmingham on Wednesday 27 July, its third venue and first outside Nottingham.
Coaching Inn Group reopens Kings Head in Richmond following £1m refurbishment: Independent coaching inns operator The Coaching Inn Group has reopened the Kings Head in Richmond, North Yorkshire, following a £1m refurbishment. Coaching Inn acquired the venue in February, secured off an asking price of £2m, as part of the group’s £20m expansion plan, which will see it acquire five more sites this year alone. Previously owned by Ashdale Hotels, the 26-bedroom Kings Head was built in 1717 as a gentleman’s townhouse. The eight-week refurbishment includes a sympathetic renovation of its restaurant, bar and accommodation. The hotel also debuts the company’s new Eatery and Coffee House concept, which includes an all-day menu featuring sharing plates, locally sourced produce and a new hot and cold drinks offering. Coaching Inn Group founder and managing director Kevin Charity said: “The Kings Head is a great example of what we do and the locations we are looking to expand into. Based in the heart of North Yorkshire, the Kings Head is a key venue in the town offering relaxed and comfortable surroundings for visitors and local residents alike.” The Coaching Inn Group operates ten well-known hotels across Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Gloucestershire and Wales and has built a strong reputation in the industry for transforming high quality coaching inns and revitalising their offer across food, drink and accommodation.
Manchester-based Chinese restaurant concept to start expansion with second site in Leeds: Manchester-based Chinese restaurant concept Tattu is set to start expansion by opening its second site, this time in Leeds. The company is set to launch the new venue in Greek Street at the former site of Gourmet Burger Kitchen in Minerva House. The restaurant will serve dim sum, small plates such as Peking duck pancakes and coconut chicken salad, with mains including caramel soy beef fillet and saffron miso black cod. Sake and cocktails are also on the menu at the restaurant, which features its own indoor cherry blossom tree. Adam Jones, owner and managing director of Tattu, told the Yorkshire Post: “We’ve been looking at several sites across the north of England but have been patient in finding the right location for the second Tattu. Leeds is a city full of culture with an individual character we felt was the perfect fit for our brand, which is one that aims to deliver a unique experience. The development of the city is incredibly exciting and something we very much want to be a part of. We will work hard to bring something new and beautiful to an already flourishing market.” Tattu opened its first restaurant at Harman Square in Spinningfields last year.
Essex multi-site operator to open Turkish restaurant in Wickford: Shahab Restaurants, which operates venues across Essex, is set to open a Turkish restaurant in the county, in Wickford. The new venue in High Street will replace Italian restaurant Mare e Monti, which closed recently. The restaurant group’s owner Shahab Uddin said the new Turkish restaurant would open in “the coming months”. He told the Echo: “I have owned the lease for the restaurant for about seven years. I have been in the restaurant business for about ten years now and I have other restaurants around Essex.” Following renovation work, Uddin said the new restaurant would open from midday to 11pm daily. He added: “We hope to bring something different to High Street.”
Splendid Hospitality starts £15m redevelopment of Yorkshire’s only five-star hotel to include new restaurant: Splendid Hospitality Group has started a £15m redevelopment of The Grand Hotel & Spa in York that will double the number of guest rooms and see the opening of a new 140-cover restaurant. The grade II-listed building, which houses Yorkshire’s only five-star hotel, will be connected to the adjacent Roman House, creating more than 100 additional bedrooms along with new meeting and corporate hospitality space. Existing rooms will be refurbished and the spa enlarged, with the creation of additional treatment rooms. Splendid Hospitality Group chief executive Stuart Bailey said: “The Grand Hotel & Spa in York is one of the jewels in the crown of the Splendid Hospitality Group and we are proud to have such a landmark building within our portfolio. York is a stunning city and deserves the very best in its leading luxury hotel. This exciting project marks our intention to push the quality of the guest experience at The Grand even higher, positioning it as one of the UK’s very best hotels.” Phase one of the project will see the restaurant open in 2017, with the new bedrooms completed shortly after.
Former Palomar chef launches solo site in Fitzrovia: Mitz Vora, former sous chef at The Palomar in Soho, has launched his solo project – Foley’s Tasting Kitchen – in Fitzrovia, London, following a successful pop-up in Shepherd’s Bush. Vora is the sole creator of the menu at the 70-cover restaurant in Foley Street, in which he will be “experimenting with food from around the world with trade route twists and influences”, Hot Dinners reports. Dishes include spiced sweet potato fritters with grilled pineapple, cured red onions and saffron coconut curry, Cornflake-crusted chicken with pickled wild mushrooms, corn, endive and chorizo, and pork belly with tamarind barbecue, apple, green papaya, cured red onions, buttermilk, and toasted cashews. The restaurant features an open plan kitchen with a viewing counter, so customers can chat to chefs. Cocktails include “The Basil Foley” – a strawberry and basil concoction mixed with blood orange liqueur and Chambord – and “The Chai Old Fashioned” (chai, Woodford Reserve whiskey, blood orange liqueur, Angostura bitters and maple syrup).
Delilah begins expansion with deli and restaurant opening in Leicester city centre: Delilah, which operates a deli and restaurant in Nottingham, has started expansion by opening its second venue, this time in Leicester city centre. A £200,000 Leicester City Council heritage grant helped fund the restoration of the grade II-listed building, formerly a bank that had lain empty for nine years. Key architectural features, decorative stonework and a lantern-style roof light have all been restored, with 16 jobs created. The venue in St Martin’s features a deli offering food and wine from around the world to take away or enjoy in the bar or mezzanine restaurant. Owners, husband and wife Sangita and Richard Tryner, opened their debut Delilah site in Nottingham ten years ago. Richard Tryner told the Leicester Mercury: “It’s incredibly exciting to see the site restored to its former glory. The building is simply beautiful, and the perfect setting for our new delicatessen.”
Manchester-based experimental beer company Carbon Smith Brewery increases equity offer in £100,000 crowdfunding campaign: Manchester-based experimental beer company Carbon Smith Brewery has increased its equity offer in its £100,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to buy bigger kit and build a tap bar. The company, founded by Ollie Shorley-Smith and which started in an Edinburgh bedroom, now operates from an archway on the Piccadilly Beer Mile and is now offering a 30% equity stake in return for the investment having initially offered 20%. So far, 44 investors have pledged £19,530 with four days remaining. The pitch states: “It’s time to upsize, but just going for a larger kit felt like only half the battle, so we’re going to war with a three-pronged attack. This is a bespoke 10BBL (1,600L) kit to continue brewing our regular brews complemented by an ever-changing premium and super-premium range of intensified beers, bigger in their complexity and ambition. Then there’s the ‘BrewSpace’ – a living breathing community of craft beer enthusiasts with access to all the advantages of a commercial brewery. To brew truly amazing beer yourself you need the same kit as the professionals, which is out of reach for the majority of home brewers. We plan to construct several 60-litre stainless steel kits, perfect miniatures of what the professionals use with full pressure and temperature control. With the brewery open to the public to brew, we feel it would be abhorrent for there not to be a bar. We would like to install a simple, six-to-eight tap line-up plus bottle fridge. If there is a spare corner somewhere, you may just spot a bar billiards table too.”
New Portuguese brasserie concept launches in Merseyside: New Portuguese concept Carlos and Marco’s Brasserie has launched in Merseyside. The new restaurant in Birkdale, Southport, has opened on the former Samsara Thai site in Weld Road. The new restaurant is open daily, offering a wide variety of Mediterranean dishes, and is the brainchild of Carlos Pacheco and Marco Camacho, who hail from Portugal. Pacheco told the Southport Visiter: “We are a family-friendly place, serving traditional Portuguese cuisine, as well as other European dishes and British plates. We pride ourselves on catering for all tastes. We’re sure there’s something everybody will like at the brasserie – and where else would we choose to open our restaurant than Birkdale village?”
Original Bowling Company rebrands Oxford site following £500,000 refurbishment: The UK’s largest tenpin bowling operator The Original Bowling Company has invested £500,000 in the refurbishment and rebrand of Bowlplex at Ozone Leisure Park in Oxford and relaunched it as Hollywood Bowl. The site is one of 11 Bowlplex venues the Original Bowling Company acquired when it bought the business last year. Steve Burns, chief executive of The Original Bowling Company, told Insider Media: “The Oxford rebrand follows a similar scheme completed at Bowlplex Poole last month and is the second in a number of significant investments we plan to make in the Bowlplex estate over the next three years. The centre has undergone a huge transformation and we are delighted with the excellent reaction we have had from our customers.” Earlier this month, Hollywood Bowl Group revealed plans to float on the London Stock Exchange as it seeks a “solid platform for further growth”. The group operates a portfolio of 54 tenpin bowling centres across the UK under the Hollywood Bowl, AMF and Bowlplex brands.
New York-style diner and bar concept Mustard launches in Sale: Husband and wife team Gavin and Jane Gosnell have launched New York-style diner and bar concept Mustard in Sale, near Manchester. The venue in Northenden Road takes inspiration from the small, stylish eateries in New York’s Soho and Greenwich Village. The menu features American classics such as steak, burgers, nachos and wings, with side dishes including ox cheek mac and cheese, and tempura bacon with Marmite aioli. Desserts include rich chocolate brownie and Oreo cheesecake. Gavin Gosnell told BDaily: “As a father of two I saw the importance of making Mustard a place for the whole family to enjoy, so we offer mini portions for smaller customers and a daily family brunch complete with poached eggs with hot chicken on toast, a brunch burger, and a stack of pancakes.” Jane Gosnell added: “Our menu captures that unique concept that is New York food. A fusion of classic and modern American cuisine, with influences from the country’s Italian, Mexican and Cuban heritage and America’s Deep South – and all made with the freshest locally sourced ingredients.” Mustard is open daily from 10am until late. The Gosnells also operate Oca restaurant in Sale.
Eastbourne-based hotel operator acquires second site for £2m: Eastbourne-based hotel operator Milad Shehata has acquired his second site in the town – The Hadleigh Hotel for £2m. Shehata, who bought The Afton Hotel last year, purchased the 62-bedroom site that includes a 120-cover restaurant, which was marketed by agent Fleurets. The hotel was previously owned by a local family for about 20 years and has traded as a traditional seaside resort hotel, which has recently operated under management. Nick Earee, of Fleurets, told the Eastbourne Herald: “Our marketing generated a great deal of interest and just goes to show there is a good level of demand for sizeable and well-run hotels in Eastbourne.”
Verdant Leisure expands portfolio with acquisition of County Durham holiday parks: Holiday park operator Verdant Leisure, which is backed by Palatine Private Equity, has acquired two leisure parks in County Durham as it continues to expand its portfolio. The group, founded in 2010 from a management buy-in of Dunham Leisure, has added Kingfisher and Heather View holiday parks to its line-up for an undisclosed sum. The 177-pitch Kingfisher site is on the banks of the river Wear, near Frosterley, while Heather View in Stanhope has 282 pitches. The boutique operator now operates six sites across southern Scotland and north east England. Verdant Leisure chief executive Graham Hodgson told BDaily: “Kingfisher and Heather View are thriving, first-rate leisure parks offering outstanding customer experience in spectacular locations, and are therefore a perfect fit with our brand and values. With our financial strength and excellent trading performance, we are actively looking to make further acquisitions before the end of 2016.” Ed Fazakerley, partner at Palatine Private Equity, added: “Verdant Leisure has become a major player in the northern regions. We saw significant buy and build potential in the business when we decided to invest, and these acquisitions are just the first in a series as we look to build on Verdant’s portfolio of holiday parks.”