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Mon 16th Aug 2021 - Exclusive – RedCat buys pubs from award-winning Knead Group
Exclusive – RedCat buys pubs from award-winning Knead Group: RedCat Pub Company, the investment vehicle headed by Rooney Anand, has bought four pubs from the award-winning Knead Group, the seven-strong operator led by Michael Thurlby. The pubs that have been sold are: Smith’s of Bourne, Lincolnshire; The Jubilee Garage, Bourne, Lincolnshire; The Lord Nelson, Oakham, Rutland; and The Prince Rupert, Newark, Nottinghamshire. The deal leaves the Knead Group owning and operating The Crown Hotel, Paten & Co and The Tobie Norris, all in Stamford. Knead Group has a focus on high-quality pizza but also sells beef and lamb supplied by Thurlby’s own farm at Tallington, near Stamford. Propel managing director Paul Charity said: “Knead Group’s pubs are among my favourites in the whole of the UK. Beautifully and sympathetically restored, they serve very high-quality food, including superlative pizza and best-in-class roasts.” Knead Group has declined to comment on the sale but a statement on its website said: “Please be assured all current bookings will be in honoured and if you do need to contact sites individually, please email or call. We are expecting a very smooth transition and to help it be as smooth as possible for the next four weeks, the venues [that have been sold] will be accepting all Knead gift cards. However, as our Knead loyalty points scheme is unique to our business these can only be redeemed through our Stamford sites.” Propel’s Blue Book of Profit and Turnover, which lists 351 companies with a five year overview of turnover and profit, shows Knead Group, ranks a mighty 39th in UK terms based on profit conversion – converting 12.6% of turnover to profit in its most recent full year. Turnover was £5,367,993 and pre-tax profit was £676,997. Last year, Thurlby reported good support from Barclays during the pandemic. He said: “We felt we needed a £300,000 loan to see us over this period. I approached our relationship manager at Barclays, Mark Smith, and he obtained this for us in under a fortnight. We have always maintained a strong relationship with him, meeting regularly so he knows, understands and trusts our business. I think this is so important and sometimes overlooked, especially when most want to criticise banks.” Last Friday, Propel reported that RedCat had bought 18-strong The Coaching Inn Group and five-strong Leicestershire-based Little Britain Pub Company. Propel also reported that RedCat, which is backed by Oaktree Capital, also acquired The Grosvenor in Hanwell, west London, and The Lion Inn in Boreham, near Chelmsford, in two separate deals. The Grosvenor was formerly part of the Food & Fuel business. Added to the company’s earlier acquisition of 42 pubs from Stonegate Pub Company, RedCat's estate is now around the 70-pub mark. 
The Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, provides a five-year overview of turnover and profit, ranks the 351 companies according to turnover, pre-tax profit and profit conversion. It also provides details of directors’ earnings and highest paid directors and now includes Propel insight editor Mark Wingett’s “Propel Pick” – his pick of the companies well-placed to grow in the post-pandemic era. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The regular single subscription rate of £395 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers remains the same. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to sign up.


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