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Thu 10th Dec 2020 - Oakman Inns looks to customer base to raise £4.5m toward next phase of growth
Oakman Inns looks to customer base to raise £4.5m toward next phase of growth: Oakman Inns, the Dermot King-led pub-restaurant operator, is set to tap into its customer base as it looks to raise £4.5m toward its next phase of growth, with an eventual aim of doubling the size of its existing 27-strong estate by 2026. During the past 13 years, the group said it has funded its “careful expansion by raising capital from an extended network of individual investors and word-of-mouth recommendations”. Now, the company’s board believes the time is right to open this up and, from Friday (11 December), it will give it customers, regulars and communities a chance to own part of the business. It is thought Oakman, which has an annual turnover of £44m, will market the investment opportunity across its estate on tables and bar areas, giving its consumers the chance to invest in the company and be eligible for a number of investor benefits and incentives. Alongside a shareholder discount card, it is thought shareholders will benefit from further targeted discounts and promotions as well as access to “money-cannot-buy events” such as soft launches, new menu tastings and meet the supplier events. Oakman’s chief investment officer Steven Kenee said: “We are aiming to raise £4.5m from the sale of shares at £2.75 each. There will be a minimum investment of 350 shares – or £962.50 per person. As well buying shares, new shareholders will also receive access to exclusive events, new menu tastings, meet the supplier events and an Investors’ Card that will give them a range of all-year discounts based on the amount invested. While these incentives are a way to reward investors, the real reason for putting them in place is to create a closer connection with our customers and to help build a more direct relationship with the Oakman community. To support this, we’ve created The Oakman Investor Platform to manage the process ourselves, rather using a third party. This characterises our culture at Oakman – always opting to invest in long-term sustainable solutions, rather than quick and easy wins.” Oakman’s chief executive Dermot King added: “While Britain’s economy, and high streets in particular, have been hit hard by the pandemic, the end is in sight and we are committed to turn a challenge into an opportunity and do our part to help drive the recovery. By opening more sites, we will not only create a significant number of jobs, we will also be doing our part to help to regenerate the high street. We believe that the long-term changes in consumer behaviour, such as the move to working from home, coupled with the tragic and unnecessary failure of many smaller pubs and restaurants, means that we are well positioned to gain further market share. Our company is financially stable, and once the fund-raising is completed, we will proceed with our development plans. We have more than a dozen new sites in our pipeline, most of which we will develop and open next year. We expect many more opportunities to present themselves over the next 12 months and aim to double the size of our existing estate by 2026.” Propel understands the company will use the new funding toward the purchase and development of its next seven sites and deliver £3m of additional Ebitda. The company has already secured five new sites and is in advanced negotiations on a further 12. The five sites, four of which are freehold, are a Beech House in Epsom, the Grand Junction in Buckingham, The Rose in Wokingham, a Beech House in Hampton Hill, and Bush Hall in Hatfield. Founder and chairman Peter Borg-Neal said: “We enjoyed a stellar performance following lockdown one and by the time we had to go back into lockdown two, sales were trading £2.5m ahead of budget.”

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