Bury St Edmunds pub giant buys The Flying Fortress

Greene King has bought The Flying Fortress
Greene King has bought The Flying Fortress
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A Bury St Edmunds pub that was sold to an ‘undisclosed buyer’ last month has been bought by a Bury-based pub retailer, the Bury Free Press can reveal.

The Flying Fortress in Mount Road, on Bury’s Moreton hall estate, has been sold to pub giant Greene King.

Greene King CEO Rooney Anand ENGANL00120130429094830

Greene King CEO Rooney Anand ENGANL00120130429094830

Suspicions that it could become one of the company’s successful Hungry Horse brands have not yet been confirmed or denied.

A spokeswoman for Greene King Pub Partners said: “We have secured the site and we are now looking at the options.”

News of this latest purchase follows last week’s announcement that Greene King had agreed the sale of 275 of its tenanted and leased pubs nationwide.

The sale, to Hawthorn Leisure Limited, backed by Avenue Capital Group and May Capital LLP, was for £75.6 million.

It is not yet known which West Suffolk pubs have been included in the deal, which is expected to be completed early next month.

Rooney Anand, Greene King chief executive officer, said: ““We are pleased to have agreed this transaction with Hawthorn Leisure. Our strategic plan, announced in July 2010, was to reduce our tenanted and leased estate to 1,200 sites.

“We believe that a smaller estate than originally envisaged is now more appropriate going forward as we move increasingly to higher growth areas in our markets and to improve the customer offer.

“The retained Pub Partners estate represents a high quality, cash generative business, although it is likely to become smaller still as we transfer some sites back to retail and seek to dispose of additional sites in the estate to improve both yield and returns. We now expect to reduce the estate to around 750 sites.

“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.”