Capital pubs group unveils threefold rise in revenues

The Edinburgh-based pub group behind institutions such as Whistlebinkies and George IV Bar has revealed a 200 per cent rise in annual turnover over the last three years, as it seeks funding to drive its portfolio expansion.

George VI owner Bruce Pubs Group is forecast £12m in annual sales for the current year. Picture: Contributed

Bruce Group Scotland has predicted a threefold increase in revenues to £12 million for the current financial year, up from £3.4m in 2016.

The forecast comes after the group recorded turnover of £6m for the first six months of the financial period.

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It has also announced a 30 per cent increase in profitability during the last 12 months as it pushes ahead with its long-term expansion plans.

Bruce Group recently launched a £20m bond offer – first announced in December – as it seeks investment to accelerate growth.

Proceeds will be used to fund acquisitions within its existing Edinburgh market and across the Central Belt.

The bonds, which will be traded on the NEX exchange, will be secured on the venues and will attract 7.2 per cent interest.

The business said last month that it had ­identified a “substantial” ­pipeline of acquisition opportunities including a portfolio of 11 tenanted units as it looks to move into areas including Glasgow.

Its portfolio consists of 19 bars, clubs and music venues in the capital and the surrounding areas, including the Royal Mile Tavern and La Belle Angele. Bruce Group currently employs around 230 staff.

Director Kevan Fullerton, who co-founded the business in 1999 with Scott Piatkowski, said the growth in turnover comes on the back of significant investments carried out in recent years.

He said: “Over the last few years we have invested heavily in refurbishing many of our properties and this is beginning to pay off.

“Many of our pubs are experiencing turnover growth of 20 to 40 per cent annually and we believe this will continue in the years to come.

“The Bruce Group has a strong presence in the very busy tourist areas of the Old Town in Edinburgh, and these continue to be successful and profitable outlets.”

Fullerton added that the wider pub sector was currently enjoying “a resurgence in popularity” among tourists as well as locals.

He said: “The strong performance of the company has led us to seek further funding through the £20m bond issue for Bruce Pubs PLC which will enable us to expand quickly over the next few years.

“Our latest figures confirm our confidence in expanding as there remains considerable room for growth.

“There are opportunities across Scotland for the right product at the right price and we believe that we can deliver this to existing and new markets. We think that the pub market is ripe for growth.”