Admiral Taverns snaps up 137 pubs from rival Marston’s

Pub operator Admiral Taverns, the pub group owned by C&C Group which rescued Bibendum and Matthew Clark after the collapse of Conviviality in 2018, has snapped up 137 pubs from rival Marston’s for nearly £45 million.

A view from behind an typical English pub bar

The Wolverhampton pub operator and brewer, which operates more than 1,545 managed, franchised and leased pubs nationwide, announced back in March that it was seeking to offload non-core assets as part of its plan to reduce net debt of £1.4 billion by around £200 million within the next four years.

Today it announced the sale of 137 smaller, wet-led leased, tenanted and franchised pubs which together had an operating profit of £3.7 million and contributed around £4.8 million of earnings (EBITDA) to the company in the year to 28 September 2019.

The pubs have a book value of £62.6 million, it said, although the sale, which is expected to be completed by the end of the month, will net £44.9 million for Marston’s, around half of the amount the company plans to raise through the sale of non-core assets.

CEO Ralph Findlay said the group was making good progress with its debt reduction plans.

“We are encouraged by the level of market interest that this portfolio of pubs has attracted.  This further underpins our confidence in achieving the accelerated £70 million disposal proceeds target that we have set ourselves for the current year.,” he said.

“We remain focused on our stated objective of reducing our net debt by £200 million by 2023 or earlier, and thereafter operating a high quality business generating consistent net cashflow, after dividends, of at least £50 million per annum.”

It follows the news last month that Admiral  bought 150 tenanted pubs from Star Pubs & Bars, boosting its portfolio to nearly 1,000 pubs.

Last week it was rumoured that the new buyer of UK wine specialist Majestic Wine, Fortress Investment Group, was a front-runner in the deal, according to The Times newspaper


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