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Wed 29th Jan 2020 - Peach reduces debt by £6m in sale and leaseback of four freehold pubs
Peach reduces debt by £6m in sale and leaseback of four freehold pubs: Gastro-pub operator Peach has announced the sale and leaseback of the freeholds of four of its pubs in a property deal that secures further investment in its 19-strong portfolio and paves the way for its next stage of growth. Freeholds of The Rose & Crown in Warwick, The One Elm in Stratford, The Swan in Salford and The Richard Onslow in Cranleigh have been sold in a ground rent sale and leaseback deal. “Peach has grown from an entrepreneurial startup to a profitable £28m annual turnover business without any other investor funding, remaining privately owned with growth funded from bank and landlord support throughout our 19 years,” said Peach managing director Hamish Stoddart. “In early 2019, working with consultants KPMG and Fleurets, we took the decision to refinance and embark on a sale and leaseback deal for four properties in our portfolio. This led us to a clearer funding strategy to agree the detail of the ground rent sale and leaseback arrangement with Sun Life advised by CBRE on behalf of CBRE Global Investors. As a result of the deal, we have reduced our debt from £8.5m to £2.5m and have sufficient funding in place to carry out several projects and new pubs including our immediate priority, the relaunch of our new pub, Boulters Lock, with a £650,000 spend on the only pub that sits on its own island in the Thames. We reopen in March after a six-week refurbishment. We will rebrand the pub and reopen around 25 March. As part of our new funding strategy, we also decided to review our banking partnership. HSBC came forward with a great deal that perfectly meets our objectives so, with regret, we decided to part company with NatWest, which has been our banker since 2005. We look forward to working with CGI and HSBC to fund the next stage of our growth. We’re looking for great gastro-pubs right now. There’s still lots of room for great premium pubs in the Midlands and south east and we aim to build our group to 30 pubs over the next few years.” Stoddart added: “Christmas was poor for three weeks and then great for two. We ended up with 1% like-for-likes. That’s not a great result but good enough to allow us to beat our budgeted profit. We had some rainy days early on and some lack of drink spend in the big-table bookings.” The company launched its Peach strategy and vision for 2020 at a gathering of partners, managers, head chefs and its central support team on 21 January, reasserting its commitment to being the “best gastro-pub company on the planet” and one of the top ten best companies to work for in the UK.

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