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Cornish pub operator St Austell Brewery agrees £40m refinancing deal

By Peter Ruddick , 28-Feb-2012

The Cornwall-based brewery and pub operator, St Austell Brewery, has agreed a £40m refinancing deal with RBS and Barclays banks to help fund the company investments in its 174-strong pub estate.

The new bi-lateral package involves a £10m loan fand £12.5m revolving credit facility (RCF) from Royal Bank of Scotland’s corporate banking team in Bristol and £12.5m RCF, plus working capital facilities of £5m from Barclays.

Colin Stratton, finance director at St Austell Brewery said the refinancing would allow the company to also invest in its brewing facilities and to develop new products.

“We benefit from a strong independent, customer-focused business model and see further opportunities to grow our presence in prime South West markets. The banking and business support we receive is instrumental in our success; the teams at Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays have shown a strong understanding of our markets and requirements,” he said.

174 pubs

A statement from one of the banks involved in the refinancing package claims the company will use the new facility to explore growth possibilities and is keen to expand its estate.

St Austell Brewery currently has 174 pubs across Cornwall, the Scilly Isles, Devon and Somerset and it is not yet known whether any expansion that may come from the refinancing would continue to be focused in the South-West or stretch further afield.

The company has an annual turnover of nearly £100m and employs around 1,000 people. It was founded in 1851 by Walter Hicks and remains in private hands.

In July last year it was announced St Austell Brewery had been nominated for the Innovation in Training Award  at the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) NITA awards which recognises pub sector training efforts; an award the brewery went on to win.