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Wed 1st Mar 2023 - Oakman raises £5.3m, Peter Borg-Neal returns as CEO
Oakman raises £5.3m, Peter Borg-Neal returns as CEO: Oakman Group has raised £5.3m from its existing shareholders and announced a board restructuring following the departure of financial director Koula Achillea, who is pursuing new career opportunities. Long-time non-executive director and shareholder, John Leslie, becomes non-executive chairman while Peter Borg-Neal will return to the position of chief executive, with the leadership team reporting directly to him. Dermot King will take charge of the finance team on an interim basis “and will take on the critical responsibility of focusing on Oakman’s strategic direction,” the company said. Meanwhile, head of HR, Jill Scatchard, joins the board as HR director. Borg-Neal said: “I want to thank Koula for her support and enormous contribution during her time with us, and we wish her well in her future ventures. This is a critical time for the hospitality industry with a range of unique challenges never experienced simultaneously across so many areas. We must be agile and respond quickly to the extraneous pressures of supply, employment, energy, costs, taxation, environment and politics. I am confident that we have a team capable of meeting this myriad of challenges.” On Scatchard’s appointment, he said: “Jill has been instrumental in making Oakman a first-class employer. Attracting, retaining and developing great people is more important than ever and it is entirely appropriate that Jill has a seat on the board.” In January, Propel reported Oakman, which operates 40 sites, had approached its current shareholder base to raise £5.3m to help with its next stage of growth. Borg-Neal said: “I am delighted to announce that we have raised the maximum £5.3m from our existing shareholders. I am both flattered and delighted by the support we have received. This funding leaves us well placed to navigate the near term challenges and enables us to look forward to prospering further as the trading environment improves.” For the 26 weeks to 1 January 2023, Oakman’s total sales were up 41.5% versus 2019, with like-for-like sales up 9.8%. Total sales versus 2021 were up 10.4% and up 1.1% on a like-for-like basis. In December, total sales versus 2019 were up 34.3%, with like-for-likes up 6.5%, while like-for-like sales versus 2021 were up 10.4% and ahead by 17.5% (VAT adjusted). For the year ending 3 July 2022, the group turned over £65.1m, up 79% on the previous year and 55.4% on 2018-19, the last full year before the pandemic. Borg-Neal said: “We are extremely happy with the positioning of the business and have a pipeline of five new Oakman Inn sites we intend to develop in the next 18 months.” Oakman Group features in Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is updated each month and now features 705 UK pub, restaurant, cafe and hotel operators. Its full-year turnover of £65.1m is the 100th highest in the database. The Blue Book ranks companies by turnover, profit and profit conversion, listing directors’ earnings for the past five years. 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 single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email to upgrade your subscription.

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