Laurel on the road to flotation

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Laurel Pub Company, the managed business that operates 600 pubs, has appointed John Lovering as chairman in the run up to a flotation within the next...

Laurel Pub Company, the managed business that operates 600 pubs, has appointed John Lovering as chairman in the run up to a flotation within the next year.

Mr Lovering will help Laurel pursue a vigorous expansion plan - the company plans to dramatically increase its size before listing on the stock market.

"This is a signal of our intention to expand," said chief executive Ian Payne. "We want to buy at least another 200 pubs.

"We'd like to be in a position to do an IPO in about a year's time, but our advisors say we are not big enough at the moment."

Mr Lovering, who is also chairman of Homebase, Odeon Cinemas, and Peacock Group, will also focus on improving the existing estate.

The company also has recently recruited Mary Curnock Cook, formerly of the British Institute of Innkeepers (BII), as a non-executive director.

"Mary has great experience in human resources," said Mr Payne. "She also has fantastic political connections and will be able to help us through the transition of licensing reform.

The Laurel business was borne out of the Whitbread estate last year, when Morgan Grenfell Private Equity bought 3,000 pubs for £1.62bn.

Laurel has since sold 2,300 pubs to Enterprise Inns in two tranches, most recently a 1,800 package for £875m in February.

This left the business with 600 pubs and bars.

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