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Wear Inns receives £10m investment to fund expansion

By Peter Ruddick , 08-May-2012
Last updated on 09-May-2012 at 15:52 GMT2012-05-09T15:52:58Z

The northern pub chain Wear Inns has received an investment of £10m from the Business Growth Fund (BGF) and NVM Private Equity (NVM) to fund expansion plans for the company, which expects to make new acquisitions in the next few months.

Wear Inns, founded in 2006 by entrepreneurs and hospitality veterans John Weir and John Sands, currently operates 15 community pubs across the north east and Yorkshire.

The business focuses on acquisition and management of freehold pubs and plans to use the new private investment to push on with its acquisition programme planning several new purchases over the next few months. The new acquisitions will create around 40 new jobs adding to the 175 people it currently employs.

Growing estate

John Weir, co-founder and chief executive of Wear Inns, said the new investment from the BGF and NVM, which has backed the business since its start-up, was vital. 

“Since starting the business six years ago, we have worked with NVM’s support to build up an estate of great community pubs offering good value and good quality across the north of England.  We have now reached a point where we want to take that approach a step further with the goal of growing our estate over the next few years.”

“Any acquisition programme requires a level of financial flexibility. So we set out to find an additional partner who could support us in funding further acquisitions,” he added.

The County Durham-based pubco currently operates sites including The Court House in Barnsley, The Priory in York and The Millstone in Newcastle. The acquisitions have been both regional and national from larger pub chains including Punch Taverns in 2009 .

The company has significantly improved the turnover in its acquisitions and has trebled its sales and achieved strong like-for-like sales growth.

Barburrito

Private investors the Business Growth Fund has invested £8m in Wear Inns while NVM has invested a further £2m in the business taking its level of capital investment in the pubco to £4.2m. The BGF, which last month announced a significant investment in northern Mexican restaurant chain Barburrito , will now take a minority stake in the business and join the board.

David Colclough, Manchester-based investment director at the BGF said: “This is a great opportunity to back the proven management team of a fast growing company as they build their business through continued acquisition.  With NVM’s support, John and his team have successfully delivered to date, significantly improving the turnover of their pubs in a short time frame in spite of the financial downturn and challenging times for consumers.”

Sands co-founded Wear Inns in 2006 after heading up and developing the Hartlepool-based Pubmaster chain before selling it in 2003.  Weir was retail director for Bass and Mitchells & Butlers, mainly responsible for the north east and north of England, before joining Sands at Pubmaster.

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