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Loch Fyne Restaurants is to open a new Le Petit Blanc brasserie in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, in June after turning the business around since its acquisition last summer. Loch Fyne bought a 75% stake in Le Petit Blanc in August 2003 in a £1.1m deal, with founder Raymond Blanc retaining a 25% share.

The chain, which had brasseries in Manchester, Birmingham, Cheltenham and Oxford, had gone into administration in April.The Oxford and Cheltenham branches were refurbished last autumn, while the Manchester branch is currently being updated.

Loch Fyne said it planned to open four our five new Petit Blancs this year and another four or five the following yearIt added that the chain made a contribution to company profits in the financial year to 31 December 2003.

Loch Fyne yesterday reported group profits of £760,000 before tax, three times that of the previous year. Turnover increased by 39% to £21.8m (2002: £15.7m).The company also added three Loch Fyne-branded restaurants during 2003, in Portsmouth, Harrogate and Chalk Farm, north-west London.

It plans to open a further four or five this year, including one in Guildford in June and another in Bristol in July, and the same number in 2005.Loch Fyne Restaurants’ managing director Mark Derry said: ‘Our performance has been more than satisfactory in a tough year. We now have two very strong brands and will continue our strategy of double-digit growth. While several sites have exceeded our expectations this year, those that do not perform to expected levels will be divested.’


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