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KFC tycoon is set to create 100 jobs and open a further 27 fast food units

By Emma Deighan

KFC tycoon Michael Herbert is taking on 27 new restaurants across the UK and Ireland, creating 100 jobs here. The new acquisition will see the Herbert Group operate 145 KFC outlets and it is expected that it will take over a further 20 of the fast food units in quarter one of 2018 in England.

Of the 100 new jobs created here, 80 will support the roll-out of a new home delivery service in NI, which is currently being trialled at Boucher Road, Ballyhackamore and Yorkgate branches, while a further 20 posts will be based at the group’s head office in Belfast.

This brings the Herbert Group’s total employee number to 5,000.

The acquisition comes after the group, which is the largest KFC franchise in Central Europe, agreed a major refinancing deal with Danske Bank, which provided it with £27m of new funding.

Jason Carlisle, group finance director at the Herbert Group, said: “Our latest acquisitions are aligned to the growth plans for the Group, and the store portfolios acquired are a great strategic move for our expanding operations in UK and Ireland.

“We are delighted to be working with Danske Bank and the experience they bring in handling significant corporate financial transactions.

“The expertise, efficiency and commitment the Danske Bank team demonstrated during the refinance was exceptional, and we look forward to working with the bank as our financial partner.”

Mr Carlisle said that over the past year the group had recruited for a number of positions across its finance, operations and development departments to support the growth plans and further acquisitions.

Brian Shane, corporate banking manager at Danske Bank, said: “Danske Bank has a long-term relationship with the Herbert Group via the provision of our market-leading cash management and liquidity solutions, and foreign exchange risk management. The firm is well positioned for future growth and with a strong management team in place, the business continues to go from strength to strength.”

Geoff Sharpe, head of corporate at Danske Bank, added: “This transaction further demonstrates Danske Bank’s ability to support large corporate transactions, delivering customer centric solutions and providing value adding services.

“We are delighted the Herbert Group are working with Danske Bank as their financial partner and look forward to supporting the management team in the years ahead.”

Michael Herbert, owner of the Herbert Group, is also behind a number of property developments in NI.

He is a director at property developer Kirk Bryson and Co Ltd, which is due to embark on a series of construction projects including a vacant site in the Upper Newtownards Road area of east Belfast, which will become a 53-home development called Rose Park. A further development is Kirk Bryson’s Parklands complex based in Knocknagoney. It is expected to feature 104 apartments.

A 10-home development at a former Lidl store site on the outskirts of north Belfast, on the Antrim Road is in the pipeline too for the firm.

Mr Herbert is also known in the property sector for his Belfast-based Lesley buildings, a collection of residential, commercial and office schemes that are named after his wife.

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