Barclays: banks still willing to invest in pubs

By Adam Pescod

- Last updated on GMT

Delay: we are open for business
Delay: we are open for business

Related tags Pub companies Investment Bank Banks

Banks are still willing to invest in pub companies if there are “sensible structures” in place, according to Mike Delay, relationship director at Barclays’ corporate banking arm.

Delay was speaking as part of a panel debate led by Zolfo Cooper’s Paul Hemming at the UK PUb Retail Summit on the relative investment interests of banks and private-equity firms in the sector.

He said: “I can certainly see much more general support. From a Barclays perspective we are open for business and the controls around release of capital have eased in the past 12 to 18 months and I think that is continuing.

“When there is a clear strategy, and management supporting it, then there is clear appetite for support (from banks).”

However, Bill Priestley, of the private-equity group LGV, claimed that banks are now a lot more cautious about investing in new pub companies.

“I think that pretty much every bank owns pub companies,” added Priestley.

“Banks don’t want to own pub companies but they found themselves owning them and have put up with it because they realised that if they sell they are going to sell at a loss.

“I think that, as a whole, that means banks are not keen to lend new money to new pub companies and I think it is incredibly difficult if you want to set up a new company to raise bank funds.

“And I think in leasehold operations in particular it is almost near impossible.

“I think the best place to be is when the banks are already there because then they will support you because they sort of have to.”

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