Michinoko Limited, an investment fund, has acquired a near 15% stake in the Richoux Group, the 13-strong business formerly known as Gourmet Holdings. A the same time, the group, which is led by chairman Philip Shotter, is set to launch a fourth restaurant brand under the name Villagio. M&C Report understands that Villagio will be an Italian restaurant concept aimed at the whole family, with restaurants in Hammersmith and Berkhamsted already lined up to open under the brand. Michinoko has invested just over £1.017m in acquiring 9,927,046 shares in the operator of the Dean’s Diner, Richoux and Zipper brands, giving it’s a 14.8% holding. The shares were acquired from LMS Capital, the international investment company, of which the right Hon. Robert Rayne, who has a personal stake in Richoux, is chairman. Rayne, who was appointed as a non-executive director of Richoux in October 2010, increased his personal stake in the restaurant company to 11.9% in April after acquiring £170,000-worth of shares. The acquisition by Michinoko Ltd makes it the third largest shareholder in Richoux. Industry veteran Philip Kaye currently has a 19.96% stake in the business, with chief executive Salvatore Diliberto holding 16.06%. The company currently has a market capitalisation of £6.87m. In April, Richoux reported a pre-tax profit of £505,000 for the year to 26 December 2010, against a loss of £1.51m in the previous year. The AIM-listed group, which operates 13 restaurants under the Dean’s Diner, Richoux and Zipper brands, reported that turnover had increased from £5.02m to £5.84m during the period, while operating profit stood at £141,000 compared to a slight loss of £300,000 in 2010. The company opened seven new sites during the year, including the first five under the new brand Dean’s Diner.