Punch Taverns presses on with pub disposals, 65 venues up for sale

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Punch taverns, Public house, Private equity, Tavern

Christie & Co is currently offering 65 Punch Taverns pubs for sale including sites in Oxfordshire, West Sussex, County Durham and Shropshire (clockwise)
Christie & Co is currently offering 65 Punch Taverns pubs for sale including sites in Oxfordshire, West Sussex, County Durham and Shropshire (clockwise)
Punch Taverns is continuing with its pub disposal programme after putting 65 sites across the country up for sale through specialist property agent Christie & Co. 

The package of pubs owned by the Burton-upon-Trent-based business, which last year revealed it was engaged in restructuring talks,​ includes sites which are on the market for the first time alongside venues which have been reduced in price.  

"The appetite for pubs amongst private equity investors and experienced pub operators alike is as strong as it has been for some years," said Neil Morgan, head of pubs at Christie & Co and one of the directors of the company. 

Announcing the significant sale package, Morgan said potential pub buyers were currently being encouraged by a number of 'good assets' currently available at 'excellent prices'.

"As such, this package of pubs has already generated considerable interest — from those looking at continued pub use and others exploring options for alternative usage," he added.

The majority of the venues, which are all being advertised via a bespoke section of the Christie & Co website, are available freehold, most are available with vacant possession and all the sites can either be purchased individually or in groups.

Operational plan

The sale marks the latest stage of a disposals process which Punch Taverns began in 2011. 

In its interim management statement released before Christmas, Roger Whiteside, chief executive of the company, revealed it had raised £193m from the programme after selling 758 pubs - it expects to sell a further 400 during the current financial year.

"While the UK consumer environment is likely to remain challenging for at least the near-term, we continue to make good progress with our clear operational plan to return the core estate to growth in the medium-term and extract maximum value from our non-core assets," he said.

Of the 86 pubs which were offloaded in the first quarter of the current financial year just 11 formed part of the company's core estate.

While the management team at the company, founded in 1997, are continuing to have discussions about financially restructuring the business, they have admitted the core estate net income is likely to continue to decline. This despite improvements in the quality of the estate as a result of the disposal programme.

Meanwhile, Punch Taverns is aiming to introduce free Wi-Fi in all its tenanted and leased sites by March. A recently-created franchise tenancy agreement is also being rolled out to new community pub tenants.

Related topics: Business, Pubs & Bars, Venues

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