Bass spends on pubs alongside hotel deals

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Bass is continuing to invest in developing its pub and restaurant business alongside multimillion-pound hotel acquisitions.It is channeling cash into...

Bass is continuing to invest in developing its pub and restaurant business alongside multimillion-pound hotel acquisitions.

It is channeling cash into building up a new chain of Mediterranean restaurants specialising in pizzas. The first is due to open in Guildford, Surrey, in the autumn, while another two sites have been lined up in the South-East.

It will be competing in an increasingly competitive market against the likes of PizzaExpress and ASK Central. Scottish & Newcastle has decided to exit by selling its De:alto Mediterranean restaurants.

The development of Bass' retail estate, which also includes O'Neill's, All Bar One, Ember Inns and Vintage Inns, comes as it spends multimillion-pound sums on hotels.

Today (May 21) it announced a £241m deal to buy one hotel, the Regent Hong Kong Hotel, which has 514 rooms, from the New World Development Company. It will be rebranded as Hotel Inter-Continental and become part of a global empire of 500,000 rooms in 3,000 hotels that the group owns, operates or franchises.

Bass, which sold its brewing arm to Interbrew last year, is also believed to be preparing to take over US hotel giant Wyndham International, worth an estimated £2.5bn. Last month, it acquired the 79-strong Posthouse hotel chain for £810m from Compass, which it plans to convert to Holiday Inns at a further cost of £75m.

This has led to renewed speculation that it is about to split its pubs from its hotels to transform Bass Leisure Retail into a separate company.

On Thursday (May 24), Bass is expected to announce a rise in pre-tax profit for the half-year. Analysts predict it will be up from £322m to £330m. It is also expected to reveal its new name after it sold the Bass trademark to Interbrew as part of the breweries deal.

Related stories:

Bass spends £810m on hotels (April 5, 2001)

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