Scottish & Newcastle chief executive Brian Stewart says yesterday’s £1.35bn acquisition of 831 Greenalls outlets fulfils “in a single step” its aim of moving into mainly branded and managed pubs.
Greenalls confirmed yesterday the long-touted sale of 531 managed pubs, 234 pub restaurants and 61 lodges to S&N, leaving it with its hotels and leisure and fitness clubs. Observers believe this could make it vulnerable to a bid from Whitbread.
S&N says the acquisition will help it focus its pubs business on three areas – large branded managed pubs, which it claims are growing much faster than smaller or un-branded pubs; branded restaurants and pub restaurants, where it will have 500 units; and lodges offering budget accommodation, a market which it says is “significantly under-developed in the UK”.
Stewart says: “In managed pubs, an estate of high quality, large outlets gives us great scope for successful brands like Barras & Co. In restaurants we will be able to exploit brands like Chef & Brewer and the food development skills which have brought us 50 per cent food sales growth over the past three years.”
The acquisition will enable S&N to expand its retail brands by converting 90 outlets to the Barras & Co community brand, and lessen the need for it to acquire new sites for branded developments.