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Tue 3rd Jun 2014 - Breaking News - Hawthorn Leisure buys 88 more pubs
Hawthorn Leisure buys 88 more pubs: Hawthorn Leisure, the pub company established to acquire and invest in tenanted pubs across the UK, has bought a portfolio of 88 tenanted and leased public houses from R&L. Hawthorn Leisure has also completed the acquisition of 275 public houses from Greene King. This acquisition was previously announced on 1 May 2014. Hawthorn Leisure’s strategy is to work in close partnership with its tenants, providing management support and capital investment to help them drive growth and maximise the potential of their pubs. Together, Hawthorn Leisure has now acquired a total of 363 tenanted and leased pubs, which are 98 per cent freehold, including 201 in the Southeast, Midlands, East and West of England, 131 in Scotland, and 31 in other parts of the United Kingdom. Gerry Carroll, chief executive of Hawthorn Leisure, said: “Hawthorn Leisure’s strategy of supporting and investing in its tenants provides a fantastic opportunity for these pubs. Our experienced team is fully committed to working in close partnership with the tenants of both the R&L and Greene King pubs and we are delighted to welcome them all to Hawthorn Leisure.” Hawthorn Leisure is backed by Avenue Capital Group, May Capital LLP and management. The terms of the R&L acquisition have not been disclosed.
   
Statutory code needs to bring transparency, says ALMR: Responding to the announcement by the government of the introduction of a statutory code and an independent adjudicator for pub companies, the ALMR has welcomed an end to a prolonged period of uncertainty and the establishment of clarity for the sector. The ALMR has also emphasised the need for the code deliver a clear and concise framework for change. ALMR strategic affairs director Kate Nicholls said: “We are pleased to see the government has finally set out its position on the relationship between pubcos and their tenants. This brings to an end a long period of uncertainty which has undoubtedly hampered investment in our sector. We are particularly pleased to see the government addressing the issue of rent reviews and also recognising the hard work that has already been done by the ALMR and other trade bodies working to find a voluntary solution. In the interim, the voluntary scheme must remain robust and effective to ensure that this work is not undermined. It is critical that definitions and classifications within the statutory code are robust, clear and meaningful to ensure transparency and simplicity for the sector going forward. The contents of the draft code will need to be scrutinised to make certain that it has the capacity to deliver the meaningful change licensed hospitality needs. The sector needs stability and consistency to ensure a fair, free and flexible market and the continued ability to promote jobs and growth right across the UK.”
   
Restaurant Group plans Chiquito and Coast to Coast for site of fire-hit Red Hot Buffet: The Restaurant Group has applied to Northampton Council to build a Chiquito and a Coast to Coast restaurant on the site of the former Red Hot World Buffet in the town, which burned down in December. Chiquito is the UK’s largest Tex-Mex restaurant chain, with more than 70 sites and 100,000 customers each week. Coast to Coast, an American casual dining concept, has expanded from just one outlet in 2011 to 11. The Restaurant Group has announced plans to open between four and six further sites this year, with the brand in some locations sitting alongside its Frankie and Benny’s and Chiquito outlets. If approved, the Northampton plans could create 60 new jobs. A report by planners said the occupation of the Red Hot Buffet site by new restaurant operators would be “acceptable” as it would bring the site back into use. The restaurants would be open between 9am and 11pm and would include an outdoor terrace area. In February a planning application was submitted to Northampton Council for the remains of the Red Hot World Buffet building, in Sixfields, to be demolished, in order to make it safe. Red Hot World Buffet, owned by Luke Johnson’s Risk Capital Partners, decided against rebuilding the Northampton site because there was little time left on its lease.

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