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All the best ingredients

I am wary of recommending enterprise investment scheme funds unless they are asset-backed. A highly attractive exception is Country Food Fine Dining being launched by Smith & Williamson.

It will invest in a spread of businesses combining dining and fine-food retail on stand-alone, out-of-town, freehold or long-leasehold sites, thereby gaining the benefit of asset-backing.

It will invest in at least four dining and fine-food retail EIS-qualifying companies. These will be existing operating units such as farm shops or garden centres in affluent rural areas within one-and-a-half hours of London.

Each unit will develop a high quality foodhall combined with a dining facility and seek to take advantage of increasing consumer demand fora complete food offering in out-of-town destinations.

The chairman, David Bruce, has an extraordinary track record via his Capital Pub Company which began as an EIS and is now a very successful Aim company. The chief executive, Gordon Leatherdale, previously worked closely with Bruce and has invested a large proportion of his own resources in the venture.

Dining, locally sourced food and ingredients, farm shops and farmers’ markets are all rapidly expanding areas.

Spending on food and drink products consumed outside the home grew by 102.2 per cent to 87.5bn from 1992 to 2004. Since then, it is believed that this figure has increased substantially.

The exit is likely to be by way of a flotation or trade sale. Minimum investment will be 5,000 and the offer will be limited to 10mand will close onMarch 28 or earlier iffully subscribed.

I like this EIS a lot and recommend it as one of the best tax-efficient vehicles available with a much lower risk than most.


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