Comptoir Group, the AIM-listed operator of the Comptoir Libanais and Shawa brands, has further strengthened its presence in London by acquiring the parent company of the three-strong Yalla Yalla business out of administration.

The group, which currently operates 16 Comptoir sites and three Shawas, acquired the assets of Agushia Limited out of administration for £400k, which it said it would pay from existing cash resources.

Agushia Ltd for the year ended 30 April 2016 reported audited turnover of £2.4m and a pre-tax loss of £10,000. The assets acquired had an unaudited net value of £203,691 as at 31 October 2016.

Comptoir said it would continue, for the time being, to operate each of the restaurants under the Yalla Yalla brand.

The acquisition gives the company a third Lebanese-based format to expand or more likely use to bolster its existing formats.

Founded in 2009 by Agnieszka Ilska and her ex-Kenza chef partner Jad Youssef, Yalla Yalla had previously generated interest from a number of private equity groups but had failed to capitalise on its early momentum, unable to secure further sites within the capital.

It currently operates sites in Winsley Street and Green’s Court, plus a pop-up in Greenwich Peninsula Square.

Last month, Comtpoir Libanais chief executive Chaker Hanna told MCA that he expects fledgling concept Shawa to grow out of its bigger brother’s shadow following the group’s IPO.

Hanna said after years of focus on growing the Comptoir Libanais brand, being a public company now gave the group the opportunity to make fast casual grill concept Shawa bigger than Comptoir.

Hanna also confirmed Comptoir’s first international site will open in Abu Dhabi airport in the winter of 2017 in a franchise partnership with foodservice company HMSHost.

Talks are ongoing with an experienced operator about franchising Comptoir in shopping centre across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Hanna told MCA: “You will find Shawa expansion at some point will be even bigger than Comptoir because we only need a small footprint. It will take us a few years to get there. We’ve spent eight years concentrating on Comptoir. But know we have the team in place and Shawa is doing so well we now have the time to concentrate on Shawa. You will see more coming.”