£2.5m funding boost for growing chain of smoothie bars

A CHAIN of juice and smoothie bars is gearing up for growth after securing investment from a fund which supports fast-growing businesses.

The Business Growth Fund (BGF) has invested £2.5m of growth capital for a minority stake in Boost Juice Bars UK.

Boost operates 10 stores across the UK, including outlets in Meadowhall, near Sheffield, Manchester’s Trafford Centre and Piccadilly train station, London’s Westfield White City and Westfield Stratford and Bristol’s Cribbs Causeway.

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Boost was founded in Adelaide by Janine Allis in 2003, and has nearly 200 sites across Australia.

Boost Juice Bars now operate in more than 20 countries including South Africa, Chile, Estonia, Germany, Kuwait, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, India, China and Russia.

Boost was established in the UK in 2007 when Richard and Dawn O’Sullivan, the team behind Millies Cookies, acquired the rights to exclusively operate Boost Juice Bars in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

In the financial year ended September 2012, the business generated turnover of £4m.

Mr O’Sullivan has been the non-executive chairman of Barburrito, a chain of Mexican restaurants, for the last four years. Barburrito, which already sits within the BGF portfolio, was the first business based in the North of England to receive BGF funding earlier this year.

BGF will take a minority stake in Boost and Andy Gregory of BGF will join the board. BGF’s £2.5m investment will help accelerate the company’s roll-out programme to grow its store portfolio of 10 stores to around 40 over the next three years.

Mr Gregory, BGF’s regional director for the North of England, said: “I am delighted to announce BGF’s investment in Boost. From the outset we recognised that this is a company with a fantastic product range, supported by a strong and dynamic brand.

“Richard, Dawn and the rest of the management team are highly experienced in this sector and you only need to look at the success they had previously in executing a very similar rollout with Millie’s Cookies, taking it from an initial few sites to more than 100 locations, to understand our confidence in them. In Boost, we are backing an established, proven concept with significant roll-out potential.”

Mr O’Sullivan, the chief executive of Boost, said: “Despite the challenges in the economy over the last few years, Boost has continued to grow its army of loyal Boost fans.

“Having achieved our target number of test stores, along with our move into healthy profitability over the last year, we are now well positioned to expand the business to a further 30 locations over the next few years.”

Boost was advised by Eversheds. For BGF, financial due diligence was carried out by Baker Tilly and DWF acted as legal advisers.

BGF is an independent company with capital of up to £2.5bn, backed by five of the UK’s main banking groups – Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS, and Standard Chartered.