Leon banking on appetite of hungry savers

HUNGRY investors in search of an investment in a falafel wrap may find solace in fast-food chain Leon’s new retail bond. Nicknamed the Leon bond, the three-year fixed-term corporate bond pays an annual coupon of between 10 to 15 per cent in £eon Pounds, depending on the amount invested, which can be redeemed at the restaurant’s chains. Investors need to subscribe for a minimum of £1,500.

The chain, with six branches in the City, hopes to raise £1.5m from the bond issue, which will support the chain’s expansion as well as setting up the not-for-profit Leon foundation, whose first initiative is to set up a cookery school for young renal illness sufferers. Leon is giving away £1,000 in £eon Pounds at one of its restaurants nationwide each Thursday until applications for the bond close on 31 July.

Leon is not the first SME to turn to its customers for funding. Hotel Chocolat raised £3.7m through its retail bond in 2010, offering a gross annual return of 6.72 per cent for a £2,000 investment, payable in chocolate. And online travel group Mr & Mrs Smith sought £5m from a retail bond paying 7.5 per cent, or 9.5 per cent in “loyalty money”.

Henry Dimbleby, co-founder of Leon, said consumers are keen to invest in favourite brands rather than banks. It remains to be seen how many will put their money where their mouth is.

ANYONE making an unwelcome weekend trip into the office yesterday will have been greeted by busier-than-usual City streets, as more than 25,000 runners took to the pavements around London for the annual British 10k.

Among those braving the rain to jog the iconic route past landmarks including Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral and even the City A.M. offices was a 57-strong team raising money on behalf of the London Legal Support Trust, which provides funding to support law centres and legal advice agencies across London and the South East.