Brewery in £53m buy-out in capital

GREENE King has bought 14 London pubs for a total of £53.1 million.

The Bury St Edmunds- based brewery and pub giant announced it had bought out the Realpubs chain on Wednesday.

“Their offer is a well developed and highly successful one targeting the premium, pub dining customer within London,” said a Greene King statement.

The firm also said it would keep on Malcolm Heap and Nick Pring, the two founders of Realpubs for a minimum of two years to help spearhead Greene King’s growth and development in London. The move will also see a large number of Greene King pubs converted into the Realpubs brand.

Rooney Anand, chief excutive at Greene King, said: “We are excited by today’s acquisition as it fits well with our strategy, by further strengthening our London presence and accelerating the development of our premium pub offer.

“The addition of Realpubs takes the total number of Greene King sites within the M25 to 217 and positions us strongly ahead of, during and after the Olympics in London in 2012, when London and its pubs and restaurants will be visited by tourists from across the world.”

He added it was the company’s aim to grow its retail business to around 1,100 pubs ‘building the best retail estate in the UK’.

Wednesday’s announce-ment was made alongside a trading update for the 51 weeks up to Sunday.

It said its retail business had seen like for like sales rise by 4.7 per cent, while Hungry Horse, its largest retail brand had seen a 10.1 per cent sales growth across its 158 outlets.

Belhaven had seen sales grow by four per cent while Cloverleaf, recently acquired by Greene King is also said to be delivering strong like for like sales.

Despite challenges to its pub partners tenanted and leased division, sales are up 0.8 per cent, while its Brewing Company’s volume is up two per cent. Top brands IPA, Old Speckled Hen and Abbot Ale level with last year, while Belhaven Best is up 1.8 per cent.