Belhaven owner sells 275 pubs for £75.6m

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Greene King, the brewer and pub operator, has agreed to sell 275 “non-core” pubs to a private equity-backed firm for £75.6 million.

The firm said the venues, spread across the UK, had a book value of £93.8m and generated underlying pre-tax earnings of £12.4m last year.

Greene King, which owns the Belhaven brewery in Dunbar, has agreed a three-year supply deal for the pubs, which are being bought by Hawthorn Leisure, backed by private equity outfits Avenue Capital and May Capital.

Chief executive Rooney Anand said: “It is a sign of the strength of the business and our balance sheet that we have several options for the funds raised through this sale.

“Depending on site availability and attractive valuations, our first priority will be to seek to further accelerate our retail expansion plans. In the absence of increased investment opportunities, we would also retain the option of using the funds to reduce our overall longer-term gearing position.”