Punch Taverns picks up £53m for outlet sales

PUBS group Punch Taverns has agreed to sell 158 non-core outlets across England and Wales for £53.5 million to NewRiverRetail, a real estate investment trust focused on the retail sector.

The Cafe Royal. Picture: Scott Louden

The company, which has not divulged which pubs are being sold at this stage, said: “This agreement is consistent with Punch’s strategy to sell the non-core estate at a rate of approximately 200 pubs per year.”

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The disposal by the group, whose existing outlets include Cafe Royal, pictured, and Tonic in Edinburgh, said the average disposal price per pub was about £340,000, which it added was “above book value and significantly ahead of the average proceeds achieved for previous non-core disposals”.

The outlets being sold had underlying earnings of £7.3m over the past year. Punch said the price would be paid in cash, would be used to reduce debt, and that the deal should complete on 11 September.

After the transaction, the core pub estate will comprise about 2,900 pubs and the non-core estate will have about 550.