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Leon secures £25m for US launch & UK expansion

Healthy fast food chain, Leon has secured £25m through Spice Private Equity in Switzerland.

The cash injection will fund further UK expansion and will launch the brand in the US in the second half of this year. This move follows sandwich chain Pret A Manger's expansion across the pond.

Spice Private Equity now holds a majority stake in Leon alongside co-founder John Vincent and long-term investor Active.

Leon currently operate 46 restaurants in the UK and two in the Netherlands, and the fresh investment will see the firm open its first outlets in the US in the second half of 2017.

Vincent said, 'To be successful Leon needs the right purpose, the right leaders and the right investors. To become the world's leading natural 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.'

Spice is controlled by GP Investments, which is headed up by the Brazilian businessmen Fersen Lambranho. He said, 'Leon is a disruptive fast-food model that was born in the UK but has an immense potential to become global.'

Lambranho is aiming to replicate the success of a previous investment in Brazilian steakhouse Fogo De Chao, which expanded into the US and is now listed on Nasdaq.