Chez Gerard restaurant chain pays pounds 1.6m to move south of the rive r

Livebait, the London fish restaurant, was acquired yesterday by Groupe Chez Gerard for up to pounds 1.6m. The deal takes the Scotts to Bertorelli's group south of the River Thames for the first time, to The Cut near Waterloo Station, an area the company hopes will receive a big boost from the completion of the Jubilee Line Tube extension. Chez Gerard, which will have 10 London restaurants when its first City watering hole opens in July, also announced flat interim figures for the six months to December, hit by delays and cost over-runs on two refurbishment projects.Pre-tax profits in the half year slipped from pounds 1.35m to pounds 1.31m. Earnings per share were 5.1p (5.2p) and the interim dividend was increased from 0.9p to 1.0p. Like-for-like sales growth at the seven restaurants open throughout the period reached 7.4 per cent.

Photograph: Andrew Buurman

Investment column, page 21

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