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Pub group bought for £106.8m

By John Corser | Business | Published:

Pub group Hawthorn Leisure has been bought by NewRiver for £106.8 million.

NewRiver chief executive Allan Lockhart

The Solihull-based business, which was founded in 2014 and has 298 high quality community pubs, has been acquired from an affiliate of Avenue Capital Group.

Hawthorn was put up for sale in March and the deal includes the established brand and pub management platform, which could be applied across the property company's existing pub portfolio.

NewRiver has identified the pub sector as an attractive investment to deliver on its business strategy which includes building convenience stores or homes on surplus land adjacent to pubs.

It bought its first portfolio of 202 pubs from Marston's in November 2013 and a second of 158 pubs from Punch Taverns in 2015.

The Hawthorn deal increases the size of its estate to 629 pubs.

NewRiver chief executive Allan Lockhart said: "The acquisition of Hawthorn Leisure is absolutely aligned with our strategy of investing in retail and leisure assets at the heart of the communities across the UK. The portfolio is highly complementary to our existing pub portfolio and the combined portfolio remains below 20 per cent of our total assets. We now look forward to applying our active asset management and risk-controlled development expertise to produce profitable opportunities for our occupiers, and growing and sustainable cash returns for our shareholders."

Hawthorn Leisure's senior management team will all remain with the company, working closely alongside the NewRiver pub management team.

In the year to the end of March NewRiver's profit after tax rose 26 per cent to £45.7m although net property income was down three per cent to £87.1m.

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Mr Lockhart said it had been another year of growth for NewRiver.

It delivered a further 10 convenience stores to the Co-operative, taking the total developed to 20.

The company bought two retail parks for £26.5m and sold £57.5m of assets.

The value of its portfolio, which includes shopping centres, has risen from £1.24 billion at the end of March to £1.35bn with the addition of Hawthorn Leisure.

John Corser

By John Corser
Business Reporter - @JohnCorser_Star

Express & Star business reporter at head office, Wolverhampton. Welcomes all news of companies and business organisations.

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