Brewery picks up a £55m restaurant bill

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GREENE King has looked to strengthen its market position after buying Cloverleaf Restaurants for £55.8 million.

The Bury St Edmunds-based brewery announced the purchase alongside its latest set of profits.

The sale includes 12 sites by the end of the financial year with at least 10 more expected to open over the next two years.

“This is an exciting acquisition for Greene King as Cloverleaf operates large, freehold, quality pub restaurants across the North of England and the Midlands, and it is well positioned to capitalise on the growing carvery market,” said a Greene King statement.

“It is growing strongly both organically, with like for like sales growing ahead of our existing retail business, and through additional sites. There is a strong pipeline of new sites with a minimum of 10 additional outlets expected to open within two years.”

At the same time, Greene King has reported growth in its interim management statement for the 38 weeks to January 23.

The largest part of its business, retail, saw like for likes sales at Greene King Retail up 3.9 per cent, Belhaven up 3.6 per cent and Hungry Horse up 10.3 per cent. Greene King Retail food sales is also up 8.2 per cent.

Pub Partners saw like for like EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) up 0.6 per cent.

Beer sales have slumped. Its Brewing Company own-brewed volume was down 3.3 per cent but that was against a 7.6 per cent fall in the UK ale market. And its core beers of IPA, Old Speckled Hen and Abbot Ale were only down 1 per cent.

“Despite the challenges posed by the inclement weather across December, trading across the business remains strong, and we are confident that we will continue to deliver profitable growth over the rest of the financial year,” the firm said.