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Bowmark Capital sells Las Iguanas to Casual Dining Group

Private equity firm Bowmark Capital has sold UK Latin American-themed restaurant chain Las Iguanas to Casual Dining Group.  

This transaction effectively completes the realisation programme for Bowmark Capital Partners III, resulting in a final return of approximately four times cost and making it one of the most successful funds of its vintage year.
Las Iguanas serves more than three million customers a year with Latin dishes cooked fresh on site at its 41 restaurants.  The award-winning business is noted for its innovative approach, high levels of service and affordable prices.
Since Bowmark invested in 2007, the business has grown threefold, with the number of sites increasing from 14 to 41. Las Iguanas has expanded from its South West heartland into a national brand, with sites now spread across the country from Aberdeen to Plymouth. Over this period the company has created more than 1,200 jobs. It is unique in the restaurant sector for its attention to staff, having being awarded champion status with Investors in People and being a Times Top 100 employer.
The business will continue to be led by its chief executive, Mos Shamel, and Eren Ali, who founded the business nearly 25 years ago, will be stepping down as executive chairman. 
Ali says: “The business has never been stronger. It has been a privilege to work with the team at Las Iguanas and Bowmark Capital to build such a strong brand. I have every confidence in the potential of the business and look forward to seeing it flourish under its new ownership structure.”
Ron Pearson (pictured), Bowmark partner, says: “Las Iguanas has delivered strong like-for-like sales growth throughout our ownership, even during the recession.  We have worked closely with the business to achieve a truly national footprint and this success is a tribute to the quality of the management.”
Las Iguanas has strong connections with Latin America, in particular Brazil, and has funded a ballet school in one of Rio de Janeiro's largest favelas.  Closer to home, it has donated Christmas presents to 35 UK children’s hospices.

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