Spanish restaurant group Iberica has postponed its search for new growth funding and halted expansion in 2017, MCA understands.

Last October, MCA revealed that the eight-strong company, which is chaired by Stephen Gee, was in talks with private equity funds with a view to securing funding to expand from 10 to 30 sites.

However, founder and chief executive Marcos Fernandez-Pardo told MCA: “We will not look at the new funding until next year. We have halted expansion this year and will recommence in 2018 with our Covent Garden site and another second location in the south of England, which will get us to the magic 10 number.”

Earlier this year, the company pulled out of opening at the St Andrew’s Square development in Edinburgh.

Last year, the company appointed Alex Rojas, former business development director at Gaucho, as its new managing director. His appointment saw Fernandez-Pardo become chief executive of the business.

Fernandez-Pardo told MCA at the time that in his new role he would be able to set out the strategic plans for the group’s next stage of growth from 10 sites to 30, whilst also looking to secure new funding to back its expansion plans both in the UK and internationally.

Fernandez-Pardo said: “I always knew that once the company got to its original target of 10 sites it would have to re-evaluate the strategy. At that point my job will be done here. I set out that goal and I have other projects I can focus on when we get to that point. I will aid Alex but my wider role is to plan that new strategy and make sure it is executed.”