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Wed 12th Jun 2013 - Realpubs founders to explore East End opportunity
Realpubs founders to examine East London opportunities: Realpubs founders Nick Pring and Malcolm Heap are to examine opportunities in the emerging suburbs of east London, according to industry sources. Pring and Heap left Greene King two months ago and are blocked from active business involvement for six months under the terms of their exit from the company, which acquired their 14-strong business for £53.1m in April 2011. The pair has owned The Empress Of India in Victoria Park with their former manager Michael Buurman since 2011, a pub acquired from Ed and Tom Martin’s ETM Group. It is understood that the duo feel there is an opportunity to develop a Realpubs style offer in parts of the East End of London that are becoming gentrified, with affluent middle classes moving in because London property price continue to climb. Pring told Propel: “The opportunity to acquire a freehold estate will never happen again in London in our lifetime – so we will be looking at free-of-tie leases and even tied leases.” Asked about his experience with Greene King, Pring said: “It was a very positive relationship – the company let us operate our pubs almost exactly the same way as we did before. Greene King didn’t have a premium offer in London and was very sensitive to the independent culture at Realpubs. We have both got a lot of respect for (chief executive) Rooney Anand - he’s a good guy who understood the culture of our independent pub company.” Pring reported that he and Malcolm Heap would be working on their new project but that both of them also plan to undertake projects independently. He also reported that becoming involved in other people’s businesses in a non-executive capacity is an idea that he finds ‘attractive’. “I’ve had lots of requests from various people to look at their businesses in a mate’s capacity – it’s given me a strong belief that I can add value.” Greene King expanded the Realpubs estate to 22 sites before Pring and Heap left. The most recent conversion was The Grove in Surbiton, will opened on 17 May. The new-look Surbiton pub will have a 70-cover dining room, dining terraces and outdoor bar/garden kitchen to serve its very large garden.
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