Regent Inns sale off

By Ewan Turney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Chief financial officer, Board of directors, Management occupations

Regent Inns sale off
Walkabout operator says sale is off but unveils plans for a sale and lease back on freeholds and a raft of board changes

Walkabout operator Regent Inns has announced that any proposed sale of the company is off.

It is now hoping to progress with a sale and lease back of freeholds after making a raft of board changes.

In a statement, the company said that "due to the continuing difficulties for potential offerors in obtaining the necessary financing in current market conditions, it has not been possible to reach agreement on the terms of a formal offer"​.

The company has now set out two medium term objectives - to maximise cash flow from existing operations and reduce debt and to stabilise sales trends in Walkabout.

In order to achieve these objectives it will now progress with a sale and lease back of a selection of freehold properties, carry out a review of its property portfolio with non-core sites to be disposed of, minimise the impact of poor performing leasehold sites and disposing of individual sites and a programme of cost reduction at head office and at venues.

Earlier this year, Regent instructed Christie+Co to offer a package of seven Walkabouts for sale and lease back for £25m.

The bars were located in Barnsley, Blackpool, Derby, Exeter, Newquay, Shepherds Bush and Wigan.

It said: "The very difficult trading environment throughout the second half has led to a substantial reduction in like-for-like sales for the current financial year in the Entertainment Division.

"The Board expects that the Company's profit before tax (pre-exceptional items) in the financial year ending 28 June 2008 will be minimal."

Board changes

Regent has appointed former chief financial officer John Leslie as chief executive and former commercial director Simon Kaye to chief operating officer.

Executive chairman Bob Ivell is to become non-executive chairman.

Ivell will oversee the changes in the short-term but hopes to be succeeded by non excutive director Jim Glover in the future.

Managing director of operations Russell Scott will leave the company with immediate effect.

The appointment of a chief financial officer is expected to be announced shortly.

Related topics: Legislation, Other operators

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