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Shares of chicken and biscuits restaurant operator Bojangles' are eaten up in market debut

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Shares of Bojangles surged 25 per cent in their market debut after the chicken and biscuits restaurant operator’s initial public offering raised $147.3 million.

Bojangles says its restaurants combine fast food speed with the quality of “fast casual” chains.

Fast casual restaurants have become a popular part of the IPO market of late. Burger chain Shake Shack Inc., chicken restaurant chain El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc., and sandwich maker Potbelly Corp. each raised more than $100 million from the IPOs in 2014 and 2015.

Those chains and others have filed for IPOs to get big, quick infusions of cash to speed up their growth. Bojangles’ IPO comes just a day after chicken wings restaurant operator Wingstop Inc. filed for an $86.3 million IPO.

Bojangles Inc. sold almost 7.8 million shares for $19 per share. That price was at the high end of its estimates. Its shares jumped $4.75 to $23.75 Friday.

At the end of 2014 Bojangles had 622 restaurants, all but three in the U.S. In 2014 the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company’s net income rose 4 per cent to $25.9 million and revenue grew 15 per cent to $430.5 million.

Bojangles said earlier in the week that it planned to sell 8.9 million shares.

The stock is trading under the ticker symbol “BOJA” on the Nasdaq stock exchange.